We Are the School

Teachers Raise Morale with 80s Hit

Zane Mrozla-Mindrup

More stories from Zane Mrozla-Mindrup

December 20, 2021

Casting Call: Mrs. Luchsinger, the event’s organizer, had the teachers meet via zoom to record. “Mrs. Luchsinger has pretty great ideas for students and this seemed pretty fun!” Mrs. Huttmann said. The parts were assigned to the teachers via email.

In what is a time of isolation and melancholy for many people in the Gretna community, the social burden seems to fall heavy on students who have had their otherwise busy schedules upended by stay-at-home orders and cancellations. A group of teachers stuck at home themselves, took it upon themselves to do some cheering up with their own lip-synced rendition of “We Are the World” by U.S.A for Africa.
“This is an unpredictable, unprecedented time,” English department head Mrs. Theresa Huttmann said. “No one knows what to expect and there can be a lot of fear. I think it’s important to maintain human connections to allay some fears and just show unity. We are all in this together. It affects EVERY SINGLE PERSON.”
The idea for the video came from drama instructor Mrs. Kiley Luchsinger. She planned on assigning her drama students to create lip-sync videos and modeled that lesson with staff members. “We Are the World” was selected because of the array of parts it contains.
“Mrs. Luchsinger asked for volunteer help and it sounded like fun,” Social Studies instructor Mr. Jon Swanson said. “ I always enjoy opportunities to do something outside ‘teacher’ responsibilities – and our staff is a lot of fun to do these types of things with.”
After selecting the song, Mrs. Luchsinger contacted the volunteers to assign the parts. Each performer headed to the recording booth where they produced three takes of the song in a little more than an hour. The recording process was not without its hiccups though.
“We realized the lips did not sync up with the words,” librarian Mrs. Kari Bulgrin said. “So then we all recorded our individual parts and sent them to Mr. [Patrick] White, who edited the video.”
During their separate recording sessions, the staff made an effort to put themselves into character donning headphones and sunglasses as well as a multitude of objects to use as microphones from wooden spoons and lint rollers to Bluetooth speakers and exercise weights.
“Mrs. Ryan loves Michael Jackson,” Mrs. Bulgrin said. “She dressed the part which was so cool. Mrs. Luchsinger is the drama teacher and Cyndi Lauper really gets into the part. I think Mrs. Luchsinger did an awesome job assigning roles.”
Even though the video was fun for the teachers to put together, the project’s most meaningful impact is how it brings people together. Connecting GHS students to the teachers they have not seen since March 13.
“Our staff is awesome,” Mr. Swanson said. “I really enjoyed doing this….funny to witness the reaction. I have actually been stopped by about 4-5 people in the community, by people I didn’t know personally, who said how much they appreciated the video and how much fun it was – that totally caught me by surprise.”

Cast List:
Lionel Richie: K. Luchsinger
Stevie Wonder: P. White
Paul Simon: J. Swanson
Kenny Rogers: S. Walters
James Ingraham: N. Hammond
Tina Turner: S. Benzel
Billy Joel: L. Taylor
Michael Jackson: M. Ryan
Diana Ross: J. Long
Dionne Warwick: S. Granger
Willie Nelson: T. Huttman
Al Jarreau: M. Huber
Bruce Springsteen: D. Stastny
Kenny Loggins: M. Wentz
Steve Perry: C. Carraher/Pflug
Daryl Hall: K. Bulgrin
Huey Lewis: T. Huttman
Cyndi Lauper: K. Luchsinger
Kim Carnes: L. Taylor
Bob Dylan: M. Huber
Ray Charles: J. Swanson