Hello, my name is Bailey Vallee and I am a senior at Bellingham High School. This last month our school worked together to do the impossible; bring Oprah Winfrey to Bellingham High! One day in my leadership class, my Oprah-obsessed teacher jokingly brought up the idea. The celebrity was already scheduled to have a show in a month just 82 miles away. Our class didn’t take her suggestion as something to kid about...we wanted it to happen. We thought it would be a fun challenge to entice her to come our way.
Here’s the catch, it was a week before winter break, and Friday was a half day. After a couple hours of brainstorming, we decided a lip-dub would be the best eye-catcher. To make it as interesting as possible, we decided to record ourselves backwards and play the music forward while being able to sync our lips to the music. It would be a challenge, but we were up to it. Our plan was simple, yet only successful with optimum participation of students. We planned to tape the lip dup on Thursday. So, we were faced with only four days to plan and produce a lip dup that would catch Oprah’s attention. In order to be prepared for the big day we spent two to three hours after school everyday gathering props, organizing the layout, choreographing, contacting sports teams and most of all, finding ways to involve as many students as possible. Honestly, at first it wasn’t easy getting the participation of our peers. But then again, if it were easy, then what’s the fun in that.
We finally encouraged the student body by communicating with them the true reason for all the craziness that was going to happen on Thursday. And it was this; we wanted to create something as a school that seems impossible to others, we wanted an activity to create a stronger community and unite the student body. Don’t get me wrong...we also really wanted Oprah, she is a very inspirational woman and having her would be an honor. Although when it became about the students and proving ourselves, our task seemed possible.
Miraculously we pulled off running through and taping our routine two times within a thirty minute time period and had over two hundred students participate. The following day was the beginning of winter break, and our next goal was to make the video go viral. Within four days our video had over 8,000 views! Unfortunately, this is where the story becomes a bit anticlimactic. After that the views flat lined, and as we returned back to classes two weeks later, there was no talk of Operation Oprah. She never did show up, or send us anything back but as I look back at what my school did, I can’t help but smile. We did exactly what we wanted to do. Two hundred students showed up to dance and laugh. We created memories. Alumni, community members, and even the rival high schools supported us. We created a way to involve and excite our city. In only four days we pulled together a video worthy of sharing with Oprah Winfrey! We united. I’m so proud of my school, and if you feel inclined to see all of our hard work, you can check it out below: