It started as another class project. The TV production teacher at Bloomingdale High had encouraged his students to take their creativity to another level.
Now, the whole school seems to want a part.
The class has produced several one-shot music videos referred to as "lip dubs," made up of lip-synchers quickly trading off lyrics in what looks like a perfectly choreographed manner.
In its latest lip dub, the class included hundreds of extras in a rendition of the 1960s song, Ain't No Mountain High Enough, mixed with the more recent Blink-182 hit, All the Small Things.
The video, which has gone viral with the help of YouTube, starts with a uniformed football player (random, yet subtle enough that it works) passing on a note in Latin. The note changes hands more than two dozen times as different "singers" take the lead. By the video's end, it reads in English: "It's Great To Be A Bull!"
"We wanted a gimmick to set us apart from others," TV production teacher Jim Anteau said. "Usually when you watch these videos, they're lip-synching to a song and then just going from one person to another. We wanted a purpose behind that."
Theirs became a showing of school spirit.
They had already made a couple of successful lip dubs and shared them on the school's morning show. But this one would be bigger. Much bigger.
The class planned to film on a club day, allowing those who aren't in a club, and even some clubs as a whole, to participate.
Students filled the background like movie extras. Some danced and some painted their bellies. Props were optional.
The main instructions from Anteau and his crew: show up and wear school colors. At the end, after trotting through Bloomingdale's hallways and sidewalks, a couple of hundred students gathered in the cafeteria, where a school chant broke out.
"We must have run through it 50 times (in the months leading up to the final shoot), and every single time it's fun," said junior Conor Malloy, 17.
So what do these young creative minds want, other than being the next YouTube sensation? They welcome a rebuttal from other local schools.
In their latest video, titled "Pass It On," some of the students held up signs (playfully) taunting their rival schools. Not one has replied, but the Bloomingdale faculty has.
Following students' early release one day last week, about 30 teachers and administrators put together a lip dub using Twisted Sister's We're Not Gonna Take It.
Impressed by what the TV production class has done, staff members displayed in their video things students aren't supposed to do in school. They pretended to use cell phones and show public displays of affection. They wore headphones and hats, ran through the halls and chewed gum.
Then they surprised the students by showing it on WBUL, the school's closed-circuit station.
The students "thought it was hysterical," said basketball coach Joe Willis, who helped organize the lip dub. "But then, I thought it was funny. They probably pulled out their cell phones and texted their friends: 'Did you see that?' "
Kevin Smetana can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2439.