March 28, 2020
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Teachers at Maine school surprise students with flash mob, parody song

BIDDEFORD, Maine — What started as a standard school assembly Thursday morning at Biddeford Intermediate School turned into something extraordinary, when faculty members burst into dance during a surprise flash mob.

Students at the school, which serves fourth and fifth grades, gathered in the gymnasium for an assembly on preparation for the Maine Educational Assessment, or MEA, testing students are scheduled to take next week.

Principal Debra Kenney and other faculty addressed students, advising them on how to prepare for the test. She explained that the MEA tests were given to students across the state and the results would show how the school measured compared to other schools.

“It’s your time to show off what you know,” she said.

Kenney advised students they’d do their best if they were well rested, stayed hydrated and their stomachs were full. She told them the students who were first to finish the tests didn’t always get the best scores, and advised them to thoughtfully answer the questions.

“It’s not a race people, it’s about doing your best,” she said.

The assembly continued with the presentation of a video of a rap song by Braeden MacNeill, son of fifth-grade teacher Karen MacNeill. In the song, he reiterated some of the advice given by the school staff regarding preparation for the MEA.

And then, much to the surprise of the students, teachers and staff joined together on stage and burst out in a synchronized dance to the music of the song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, with lyrics rewritten by music teacher Andrea Wollstadt.

“MEA’s comin’ up fast, I’ll take my time, and pay attention. I’ll go the distance, and take lots of deep breaths. Just a kid with a will to achieve,” began the song.

Karen MacNeill, the teacher whose son made the rap video, choreographed the dance performed Thursday morning. She said the flash mob was a way to “pump up” students and get them ready for the tests next week.

“The energy is palpable right now,” she said.

MacNeill said a number of staff members pitched in, including the school secretary, who designed the T-shirts the staff wore.

“It was a team effort,” she said.

Staff got together for scheduled after-school practice sessions to rehearse the dance, and were committed to the project, MacNeill said.

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