“Lion pride” hit the national stage recently as a group of students from Lackawanna Trail High School won first place in the high school category in the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’s fourth annual “Classroom Musical” competition.
“We never imagined that we would win,” said English teacher Connie Harris who, along with fellow teacher Lisa Vallone, guided the students in their nationwide debut. “We knew we had a good product, but we were up against the Fort Worth Fine Arts Academy, who was second runner-up, and Tupelo High School, which was first runner-up and it was an advanced music theory class. Our students all just came together for the fun of it.”
Harris said that the students participating in Trail’s music video, which was a play on a typical day at the high school set to revamped versions of popular hit songs, ranged from eighth through 12th grade. Songs transformed for the video included Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball,” which became “I Got Hit By a Basketball,” and Lorde’s “Royals,” which became “Winners.”
“We spent a lot of time working on it,” said eighth-grade student Allison Decker, who came up with the “Lionized” versions of Fun’s “Some Nights” and “Timber,” by Pitbull featuring Kesha. “We came down after lunch every day for two weeks and worked on it. It wasn’t part of a class.”
For senior Colin Bolthouse, it was all about bringing students together to showcase just what their school is made of.
“It was very exciting because when all these talented kids came together to share their talents, the excitement was very high and everyone wanted to do their part,” he said. “There were no big or small parts; it was just a fun and exciting thing to participate in.”
Bolthouse’s classmate, Allison Stuenzi, said that the best part about the project wasn’t winning the $1,500 prize from contest sponsor Pilot Pens to be used for classroom enhancements, but the experience itself.
“There were no personalities at all, we were all in it together — no one butted heads at all, everybody was so excited about the collaboration and the fact that we were doing it,” she said. “There were a lot of people competing against us, so we weren’t sure if we would win. It was pretty awesome when we did. It was more about the experience and getting to know other students. I didn’t know a lot of them until I started working with them, it was a lot of fun.”
Harris said that not only did the students write and perform the music, they also assisted with video editing and recording, making the video an entirely student-produced affair.
Following their national success, some of the students have discovered that they have become local celebrities of sorts.
“I was in Walmart and some random guy came up to me and said, ‘you’re that girl from that radio show video,’” Stuenzi said. “I had no idea who he was but it was really, really cool.”
To watch the Lackawanna Trail High School students’ video, visit kiddnation.com/classroom-musical-winner-video.