Student Leadership Videography: Promoting School Spirit and Community

"Student Leadership plans events like the winter dance and the prom, increasing morale and school spirit within the student body," explains Christian Kassab, 12th grader at BHHS.  "It's about community involvement, so organizing Homecoming is one of the biggest events of the year.  We do community events like Munchkin Mash, where we plan a Halloween party for the district staff's children.  We do a lot of community service, including blood drives.  We try to better the school community and the greater Bloomfield Hills community."

Kassab works within Student Leadership as the "executive board technology advisor, responsible for making all the PR, the videos, and overseeing students in younger grades who want to learn how to make the videos."  Along with a cohort of other Student Leadership students, in addition to a talented group of friends, Kassab leads the way in the production of videos promoting school events sponsored by Student Leadership.  

Habib Bello, another 12th grader in Student Leadership, adds, "We are behind Christian 100%.  In Student Leadership, we come up with any way that we can support him with the idea, whether it's bringing in extra props, or adding a verse on to a song.  Anything that we can do to make that idea come to life in order for the student body to be excited for the event that we're putting on, is the most amazing feeling.  We are so grateful for all the videography that he does."  Bello was one of three students who starred in a recent video promoting the winter dance, and has been featured in multiple other Student Leadership promotional videos.

The recent dance video features students who may not be in Student Leadership, but who are actively involved in the Bloomfield Hills High School theater and music programs.  Arin Champati, 12th grade student who stars in the winter dance promotional video as a singer and dancer, shares, "In our school, you can be involved in a lot of things that Student Leadership does, without actually being in Student Leadership.  A lot of our friends like to do whatever they can to help.  I was still able to contribute even though I'm not in Student Leadership. It's a collaborative effort in the grade to improve the student culture, which is why I think Student Leadership is succeeding.  We're the seniors, and set the role model for the next grades."  

Another 12th grade student, Annaliese Wilbur, came up with all of the choreography, and starred in the video, both singing and dancing.  Wilbur shares, "I was so honored that they asked me to do the Student Leadership video.  I will most likely try to do Student Leadership in college."  Wilbur has starred in many of the school's musical productions, and notes, "I was influenced a lot by my teachers when I came up with the choreography for this video.  Ms. Shirel Jones was a huge part in my development in modern dancing, especially fluid dancing, which was like nothing I had ever done before.  It's not like ballet or jazz.  Ms. Jones was hired by the theater department; she choreographed A Chorus Line, Les Miserables, and West Side Story."  

Many other teachers have been instrumental in inspiring and helping Student Leadership students.  Kassab shares, "I was not as involved in music originally, and I attribute where I am now to how much my teachers encouraged me.  I wasn't going to even audition for the musical, and my teachers said to me, 'you're in high school now.  You should try to find your passion, and explore options.'  Without them, I wouldn't have understood that musical theater is one of the biggest, most impactful experiences of my entire life.  So I attribute a lot of my success, knowledge, and understanding about myself to a few teachers that have been so encouraging, especially Mrs. Riley and Ms. Greenlee.  Also, the Student Leadership advisors - Mrs. Laliberte and Mr. Propst - help to set up this avenue where I can go and create something that's a little bit out there for a school promo video.  It's not your standard school promo video!"

Champati also expresses gratitude for influential teachers: "Most of my high school career has been about finding my niche, and the first two years, I wasn't a part of anything really.  Junior year, I auditioned for Les Miserables, because one of my teachers, Mrs. Riley, the choir director, inspired me."  Bello, Champati, Kassab, and Wilbur all share similar stories about how their experiences in high school will inform their future choices.  As Kassab says, "I don't really know where I'm going in the future, but I do know that art - all forms of art, music, video - they're at the core of who I've become in high school, and I know that I'm going to have to nurture that in my college years, and beyond college in life.  I can't let that die.  I don't know what that's going to hold for me, but I know I'll do something that involves that art."

Student Leadership is a class that participating students are elected by peers to join.  Bello explains, "In order to be in Student Leadership, you want to be somebody that is representative of your student body.  You want to have a respectable attitude in the way that you treat students and teachers. You have to fill out an application, and make an election video, and then students elect you.  There are multiple aspects, including how personable the candidate is, and how well you connect with the student body.  Because once that person gets on staff, it's their duty to express the ideas to the student body."  There are about fifteen 12th graders, and fifty students total from 9th through 12th grade, in Student Leadership.

Many thanks to the amazing Student Leaders who helped in the creation of the winter dance video, as well as the talented students who helped to put the idea into action!