Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Virginia Beach elementary school draws views, student excitement with ‘Uptown Funk’ parody

VIRGINIA BEACH – “Uptown Funk” meets state standardized testing in Hermitage Elementary School’s music video parody, which went live at a pep rally Friday and took off over the weekend on YouTube.

Most of the four-minute and 29-second video was shot in two after-school sessions with staff members, said Principal Holly Coggin. The idea came from music specialist Jill Kane, who wrote the lyrics, sang, played guitar and shot and edited the video, all on her phone, Coggin said.

The hallway shots of staff, led at times by custodian Gary Skinner wielding a duster like a drum major’s baton, were filmed by Kane as she sat on a cart, her phone held high overhead while she was pulled backward by arts specialist Lauren Wynn.

Superintendent Aaron Spence also made a cameo.

Kane finished the video about six weeks ago. Coggin said the administration premiered it to staff for teacher appreciation week but otherwise kept it under wraps until Friday, when they played it for about 550 students at Hermitage’s annual pep rally for Standards of Learning testing, which begins Thursday.

“And they just went nuts,” Coggin said.

There was so much cheering, laughing and singing during that first showing the kids probably didn’t catch most of Kane’s lyrics, but even amid the clamor, they were chanting along at the end, Coggin said:

“Pass — that — SOL, pass that SOL!”

The vast majority of Hermitage students do. The school’s most recent accreditation report card shows pass rates of 84 percent to 93 percent in science, English, history and math.

The video is doing well, too. It went from about 300 views to 18,000 over the weekend, boosted by a former teacher’s posting to a website with national reach, Coggin said. That tops recent music video parodies from fellow Beach elementary schools Point O’View Elementary in 2015 (3,000 views) and White Oaks this year (1,000 views, also using Uptown Funk).

Hermitage’s entry also received many clicks closer to home. Coggin heard of one preschooler who viewed it 13 times, mostly to watch her mom dance.

Hermitage Elementary’s Uptown Funk Testing Parody:

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