STAFFORD TOWNSHIP — Southern Regional High School students affected by Hurricane Sandy have created a video to express some of their emotions in dealing with the damaged inflicted on their community.
More than 200 students participated in the making of the video, and 50 of those students were directly affected by the storm, some losing their possesions and some their homes, said Leaha Lukas, a media teacher at the high school who helped produce the video along with teacher John Kaszuba.
Lukas said producing the video gave the students “a break from their new norm that includes cleanup from the storm.”
Despite their situations, many of them were excited about the project, she said.
The video was shot over the soundtrack of “Home,” by Phillip Phillips and “It’s Time” by the Imagine Dragons.
It features a group of students lip-syncing the song inside the halls of Southern Regional High School, some holding images of the storm’s damage to places in the community. As a camera moves down the hallway, the students stand with expressionless faces holding the photos of storm damage done to homes.
To see the video, click here.
Southern Regional senior Kimberly McGowan, 17, of the Beach Haven Park section of Long Beach Township, opens up the video lip-syncing to “Home” and walking backward through the high school library.
“It’s sad over here. There are piles and piles and trash all over the place, and that’s people’s lives on the curb,” McGowan said.
She and her family had to flee from the storm, first to the Waretown section of Ocean Township and then again when that town was ordered to evacuate, she said. The family then spent 11 days in West Creek.
Her family got several feet of water in their basement from the storm, but even after they were able to return, McGowan could not. She said she spent the week before the storm in the hospital after having her tonsils removed, but her lung collapsed and doctors did not want her to return to Long Beach Island with all of the mold and other problems following Sandy.
“I missed my parents so much,” she said.
In one scene of the video inside the high school cafeteria, a group of students pass along a sign that states “Unite/Rebuild/Thank You” to emergency management workers. In another scene, students stand against lockers while holding colored pieces of paper with messages such as “Hope,” “Jersey Strong,” “Rebuild” and “Revive.”
The mood of the video changes when the students begin performing to “It’s Time.”
The students are still holding signs with uplifting messages, but now are smiling and cheering.
All of the singers and many of the students featured in the video were personally affected by the storm, a school news release said.
A lip dub music video combines lip synching and audio dubbing. Lip dubs are completed in a single unedited tracking shot that follows multiple students through the school, in this case as they walk backward.
Vice Principal Joseph Medica said the goal of the project was to raise awareness about the affects of the storm and to keep it all fresh in everyone’s mind.
“You see that they lost everything. When you talk to a 14-year-old kid who has lost their clothes and all their things and then you hear their parents have lost their home, well, to a 14-year-old kid they basically lost the world,” he said.
Kristen Jackson, 16, a sophomore who lip-synced to the song “It’s Time,” said the song’s determination mirrors that of the community.
“What it says in the song, that the city never sleeps at night, well, that’s like the island in the summertime. It never sleeps over there during the summer. I just love it here and it’s been very hard,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she lost things that she can never replace, including journals from when she was a child. She lost the home she grew up in, her bed and things that are so important to any teenage girl such as her clothes, makeup and her curling iron.
“It was difficult, but it made me stronger in a way and it made me learn to appreciate my family and my friends, because you never know when it could leave you,” she said.
At the end of the video, the group of students runs to the Long Beach Island billboard that stands on the lawn of the high school. They are still clutching their signs, but now cheering as “It’s Time” winds down.
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