WMS teachers bring cheer with COVID-19 music video parody

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WORTHINGTON — A pair of Worthington Middle School teachers have released a music video parody about COVID-19 in an effort to get their students excited about coming back to school.

Seventh-grade EL teacher Kourtney Leuthold and sixth-grade EL teacher Karen Omot previously made a COVID-19 song parody back in April, when kids and teachers alike were feeling discouraged about finishing the school year through distance learning. Everyone had such a good time making and sharing it that the teachers decided to make another music video.

The 2020-2021 school year comes with a unique set of challenges, including hybrid learning, Internet access and public health awareness.

"I thought, 'We can't change it. What can we do to just accept our reality and put on a good attitude for ourselves and the kids?'" Leuthold said.

After some discussion, they selected the song "All Star" by Smash Mouth to parody. It's a widely known song that isn't too genre-specific and has clean lyrics.


Leuthold wrote the parody lyrics and asked Trojan dance coach Caitlin Werder to come up with some choreography. Band director Jon Loy provided Trojan gear to wear as costumes.

In addition to school staff, the teachers also decided to get the community involved, inviting Worthington police officers, firefighters and other public servants to participate in the video. Worthington Mayor Mike Kuhle even makes an appearance as a backup dancer.

"We want students to know their community cares about them," Leuthold said.

Behind the camera was Kate Pelzel, multimedia specialist at Ani-Logics Outdoors and owner of art business KateCreates. She spent several hours shooting the video footage and editing the clips together with background music and an audio recording of Omot and Leuthold singing the parody lyrics.

Volunteering her time and skills is worth it "even if it just puts a smile on the students' faces for one day," Pelzel said.

Ultimately, the video creators want students to know that "we're excited for school no matter what," Omot said, "even if it's hard.


"It's all about the kids," she added.

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