As an aspiring singer, Ashika Sachdev was excited to help her TV production class at Barrington High School with a video contest that would be judged by Rihanna.
"For Rihanna to see me sing, and just (see) the video itself, it'd be a great experience," she said.
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So it's an understatement to say the high school senior was ecstatic when she found out that her class had won the "Shine Bright Like A Diamond" student video contest -- named after one of pop star's hit songs. Their video was selected out of 52 other submissions from high schools nationwide for the grand prize: a school visit from Rihanna.
"Everybody's just happy for us and excited that we won," she said. "I was speechless when I found out."
TV production teacher Jeff Doles said he found out about the contest in early November from MOXIE, an organization that provides high school journalists and media programs with materials to cover music artists.
He said the company occasionally gives students tickets to events and holds contests like this one with Rihanna, which required students to make a lip dub or video interpretation of her song, with an emphasis on what the school is doing to give back to others.
Doles said about 10 students spent around 50 hours during and after school filming and editing footage from various fundraisers and of service work the staff and students have participated in throughout the year.
"This was a unique opportunity for the kids to showcase their skills and make a difference," Doles said. "It's just great to see them get recognized."
Sophomore Ariana Baldassano said the class decided to focus on what Barrington High School does as a whole to inspire other people, both locally and nationally. She said making the video was a lot of work, but the class was thrilled with the end result.
"Everybody is so excited," she said. "Our school is buzzing."
Doles said the students have requested that Rihanna do a performance at the school, with profits going toward some of the charities featured in the video.
A date for the visit still has not been determined. Doles thinks it may occur in March, when Rihanna will be in the area for a show at the Allstate Arena.