Forget the senior videos. That's so old school.
With graduations in full swing at Northwest suburban high schools, more and more film-savvy seniors are producing "lip dubs," or high impact music videos to impart their school spirit.
Last year, St. Viator senior Torey Lenart of Inverness led her classmates in a lip dub shot through the hallways, while over at Fremd High School, students shot their music video on Sunday and will unveil it Thursday during "Movie Night" at the school.
The latest to burst on the scene was a lip dub filmed last month at Conant High School. The eight-minute video premiered on Saturday at Cougar Night, which combined with National Honor Society and Student Council members as an outdoor fundraiser.
It featured approximately 250 students -- all decked out in Cougar spirit wear and athletic uniforms -- from every grade level and from myriad sports and activities.
Seniors Lauren Stone and Ashley Bryeans, both of Schaumburg, served as producer and director, respectively.
They presented the idea to administrators from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 during one of their monthly meetings for student activity directors. And their enthusiasm was contagious.
"It took three weeks to prepare for the filming," Stone said. "We needed three takes, but with a big team effort, we pulled it off."
She described everything involved with planning the lighting and audiovisual, as well as selecting the senior lip singers and decorating the hallways. The highlight of the film is the flash mob dance performed by all 250 participants, which took some extra rehearsing.
For the filming, they reached out across their network of contacts and secured a professional film crew from ABC to shoot and edit the video.
"But we had to find dollies to push them through the hallways," Bryeans adds, "and map out their entire route."
Both Stone and Bryeans took a senior elective class called "Leadership for Life," in which each student had to create and carry out a culminating event for students.
"We wanted to create something that would inspire our classmates," Bryeans said, "that would keep their school spirit up and keep up the Cougar Roar."
Administrators who got a sneak peek said they hit the mark.
"It was awesome how so many students were involved," said Shayne Bullen, assistant principal at Schaumburg High School. "You come away from it just inspired by all the student involvement."
The video drew a big response Saturday during its debut on the huge screen set up on the football field. Its draw also helped ramp up attendance at the benefit event, which raised money for "Cougars in Need" and school families experiencing hardship.
Jerry Trevino, assistant principal and student activities director at Conant, said this year's fund helped nearly 20 families with everything from buying emergency groceries, to paying rent, and even underwriting the cost of a graduation gown.
"The thing about this lip dub is, that it was all student run," Trevino says. "Really, students did every bit of it, and that's something we don't see much. As educators, that's what we're striving for, so we're pretty proud of their efforts."