Elk­ton High vi­ral video spreads anti-bul­ly­ing mes­sage

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— The town that was once known as the mar­riage cap­i­tal of the East Coast may be well on its way to de­vel­op­ing a new spe­cial­ity: vi­ral mu­sic videos.

In Septem­ber, the town pre­miered “Can’t Stop the Feel­ing: An Elk­ton Tribute,” which showed down­town res­i­dents and busi­nesses danc­ing to the Justin Tim­ber­lake song. And now, a group of Elk­ton High School stu­dents is con­tin­u­ing that trend with an anti-bul­ly­ing video that was posted to the

ELK­TON

school’s Face­book page last week.

Set to Katy Perry’s “Fire­work,” the video shows EHS stu­dents and staff danc­ing, hold­ing up pos­i­tive notes and do­ing good deeds as a way to spread an anti-bul­ly­ing mes­sage.

Since be­ing posted last Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, the video has been watched more than 30,000 times and gar­nered more than 700 shares.

“We just wanted to send the mes­sage in a fun way that’s ap­proach­able,” said Han­nah Holderer, a ju­nior who worked on the video.

The video came to­gether quickly over the course of about a month af­ter EHS teacher Marie Freisleben put out the call for stu­dents to help cre­ate an anti-bul­ly­ing video timed to anti-bul­ly­ing month in Oc­to­ber.

Though the video came out later than an­tic­i­pated, the stu­dents were still sur­prised and pleased with the huge re­sponse it gar­nered. Most of the stu­dents who helped out are not es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in video — they were more fo­cused on the anti-bul­ly­ing mes­sage

such a video could pro­mote.

“I feel like bul­ly­ing goes on and peo­ple don’t even re­al­ize it,” said Zachary Kin­sey, a fresh­man who helped with the video.

To cre­ate the video, the group of stu­dents re­ceived help from Mark Yang, a pro­fes­sional videog­ra­pher who Freisleben knows from col­lege. Yang came down to EHS to shoot some scenes while oth­ers were filmed by the stu­dents them­selves.

In many cases, stu­dents sim­ply walked around dur­ing the school’s re­visit pe­riod or af­ter school and asked peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate. The end re­sult was a wide cross sec­tion of peo­ple — not just the typ­i­cal out­go­ing peo­ple one would ex­pect to par­tic­i­pate, Freisleben said, some­thing she at­tributes to the stu­dents’ en­thu­si­asm for the project rub­bing off on those they en­coun­tered.

While some scenes are sim­ply peo­ple danc­ing or hold­ing up signs with pos­i­tive mes­sages, oth­ers are more chore­ographed scenes, such as one where a group of stu­dents joins a stu­dent who’s sit­ting by her­self.

For Holderer, one of her fa­vorite parts of the shoot was when a group of stu­dents stood out­side against a brick wall and just smiled.

“(Yang) said, ‘Just smile, all you have to do is smile,’” she re­called. “And we were gen­uinely happy in that mo­ment and it showed.”

In the fu­ture, the group hopes to re­peat their suc­cess next year by in­volv­ing even more stu­dents since many peo­ple weren’t aware of the project un­til the video was post- ed. And Freisel­ben said the school’s guid­ance de­part­ment is also con­sid­er­ing adding a video com­po­nent to its an­nual anti-bul­ly­ing poster con­test, per­haps re­sult­ing in more than one vi­ral video next year.

“It re­ally shows how far some­thing small can go,” Freisel­ben said.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Rita Bow­ers, right, stands with her twin daugh­ters Myla and Myra and her god­son Kashawn Davis Jr. dur­ing a ceremony cel­e­brat­ing the fam­ily’s new home on Mon­day night.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Elk­ton High teacher Marie Freisel­ben (front right) and stu­dents worked to­gether to cre­ate an anti-bully video that went vi­ral af­ter be­ing posted on the school’s Face­book page.

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