It took two months to plan, record and edit, but when staff at Grande Prairie Composite High School surprised their students with a graduation video, all the hard work paid off.
“It was after my speech at our graduation ceremony… saying we wanted to give something back to our student body,” principal Dennis Vobeyda said.
“It was great to see the reaction from the students and the parents.”
More than 70 staff members were involved in the making of the video. Every single department was in charge of producing their segment – from picking out the music to choreographing some type of routine.
“A lot of teachers taking their own time to do things after school, before school, lunch hour, weekends,” Vobeyda added.
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The montage features everything from comedic takes on the movies Anchorman and Dodgeball to a staff member swinging from a rope in the gym to the tune of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball.
“He wasn’t injured, but it was definitely a great typecast for him,” Vobeyda laughed.
The graduation video was posted on Facebook and YouTube. As of Monday, the video had more than 100,000 views on the school’s Facebook page.
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“Students, the entire school community, it’s been great to see the reaction there,” Vobeyda said. “But with the explosion on social media, it’s been nice to see our alumni and school community members – and just community members in Grande Prairie that don’t really have someone at the school – commenting and saying, ‘hey great job, that was something that was nice.’ That’s been great to see the reaction outside of our school community.”
The huge response has been nice, but the principal said the bonding experience within the school was even nicer.
“It’s great for our students, but it’s also – from a principal’s point of view – it was great for our staff to be involved with this as well. We are already looking forward to next year and what we will do for the students going forward. This is a tradition we want to start here at our school and continue.”
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Outside of the positive feedback and a lot of laughter, Vobeyda said the video offered staff a chance to think outside the box.
“The biggest thing is it’s something to remember us by. And it gives the students a chance to see the teachers in a different light.
“A lot of times students have a certain perception of what the teachers do on a daily basis,” he said. “You don’t always have the same connection with all 70-some staff members. You will see them in the hallway but you might not have a class with them. This was one of those key aspects where you can take and see, ‘hey I know that teacher, they are in my school’ and then you see what they came up with.”
So far, students and alumni have highlighted the Wrecking Ball and Anchorman segments as they’re favourites, Vobeyda said.
The school hopes to continue the tradition with a “bigger and better” video next year.