Balloons, soccer balls and banners hit junior Tate Hatfield as he walked the halls of Bullitt East High School, video camera in hand, but he ignored them.
The day for filming an anti-bullying video was finally here, and the one-take shot had to be perfect.
United for East, a group of 20 students, spent months planning a video to speak out against bullying and bring the school’s 1,400 students together.
Their video, which is currently being edited, will show one long shot of students lip-syncing Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” as they walk backward through lines of their classmates, dressed to represent various sports and clubs.
Dance team members waved pom poms, the baseball team made a bridge of bats and the culinary club banged pans, all cheering quietly as the lip-syncers listened for the lyrics they were supposed to be mouthing — or full on singing, in one student’s case.
During a practice run, freshman Ian Kerr, 15, walked behind Tate, trying to get his classmates more excited.
“Be happy, oh my gosh,” he yelled. “Cheer because you’re not in school.”
Ian and Tate, along with other members of United for East, were selected by teachers to apply for the group, which supports anti-bullying and drug and alcohol awareness. The students plan events at the beginning of the year, such as a dance meant to keep classmates from making bad decisions away from school grounds.
They decided to do the video after a former senior brought the idea to them last year. He had seen a video done by Cypress Ranch High School in Texas to the song “Who Do U Think U R?” by Kaitlyn K and wanted to do the same at Bullitt East, group supervisor and guidance counselor Tammi Terry said.
Students in United for East have different opinions about bullying on their campus. Some say it never happens, while others say most of it takes place over social media.
“A lot of stuff is verbally, over the Internet,” said senior Ashley Cooke, 18. “So it’s stuff we don’t even realize, maybe, (that) what we’re saying is hurtful to somebody else, just because, maybe, we’re all like self-involved, like just about ourselves.”
But the video isn’t just about bullying, said senior Kendall Mayfield, 17. It was also used to show each student has a place in the school, whether that’s in a sport, a club or even their homeroom.
Ian said: “In high school, you want to feel like you’re part of something. High school, for the lack of a better word, can sometimes stink.”
Juniors Abigail Feldkamp, 16, and Lauren Turner, 17, were dressed in cheerleading uniforms as they waited for the filming to begin. They weren’t sure what to expect because they were purposefully not shown the original video, and they were surprised by how many clubs got called down from their classrooms to line up along the halls.
“I didn’t even realize there were so many clubs,” Abigail said. “I don’t know who’s in the clubs. Maybe when we see the video we’ll find out who’s in which club.”
The group finished filming after two takes and will now edit the video the best they can, Tate said.
They hope to release the video on YouTube before spring break starts March 31.
Reporter Bailey Loosemore can be reached at (502) 582-4646. Follow her on Twitter at @bloosemore.
Lyrics to “The Middle”by Jimmy Eat World
Hey, don’t write yourself off yet.
It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Just try your best, try everything you can.
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.