Montrose High gets ‘happy’
BY STACI WILSON
A video produced at one Susquehanna County school is making a lot of people “happy.”
Montrose Area High School’s newly formed ‘Friends of Rachel’ Club set out to spread a positive message with a student-made video set to the Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy.”
The club was officially recognized by the school board earlier this month. The ‘Friends of Rachel’ Club stem from Rachel’s Challenge seminars which empower students and administrators to build a better school environment.
Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim in the 1999 Columbine school shooting. In her journals, found after her death, Scott had written about starting a “chain reaction of kindness.”
Her family and friends took up that goal which has become known as “Rachel’s Challenge” and a seminar was held at Montrose – inspiring the formation of the FOR Club.
Montrose Principal Michael Boccella said the production of the video was coordinated with teachers and staff to work around testing schedules and complete the production with “as little interruption to the school day as possible.”
Club advisers Charlotte Sherwood and Charlene Kempa reached out to student videographer Corey Ross-Robertson for assistance.
Ross-Robertson, also a FOR Club member, assembled a crew which filmed the video in about two days.
“This school is very close-knit. Everybody is friends with each other,” he said and most students and staff were eager to participate. “There’s not too many people who didn’t want to be in it.”
Ross-Robertson said similar videos had received about 3,000 views and he felt confident the “Happy” production could achieve that. But the over 7,000 views were unexpected. “It’s overwhelming the amount of support the video has gotten.”
Ross-Robertson received a video camera when he was in the tenth grade. He began taping sports events for fun and posting the clips on YouTube. While doing so, he found “a love and passion for videography” which he plans to turn into a career with plans to attend Penn State’s College of Communications at University Park in the fall.
Principal Boccella said “The kids were excited about the video.”
And they still are. While many students were already involved in the FOR Club – the video has generated even more interest.
The “Happy” video captures the joy and excitement of both the Montrose Area students and staff, Boccella said. “People like being here and it shows.” And he added, the message of the video – as well as the club – is “Starting a chain reaction.”
But Boccella said he didn’t think the YouTube upload would get as many views as it has.
“I might have rehearsed my part of bit better if I knew it was going to be that widely seen,” he joked. “But I was happy to be a part of it.”