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Superintendents across the country use YouTube to sing about school closings
Some school administrators have surprisingly nice voices.
These days, there are plenty of ways to find out if your school system is closed because of inclement weather. There are school Twitter accounts to peruse and system-wide group text messages to receive, or you can go old-school and listen for it on the radio and watch it on the local TV news.
Or your school administrators can just hope to go viral on YouTube by singing about the joys of spending the day at home when the weather makes for an unsafe learning environment.
That’s was the path taken by superintendents across the Midwest amid the ongoing polar vortex to announce the three words just about every student longs to hear: school is closed.
For Swartz Creek Community Schools Superintendent Ben Mainka and Swartz Creek High School Principal Jim Kitchen, it was a chance to show off their singing talents and croon their own personal version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in a video that has accumulated more than 700,000 pageviews this week.
“I know one of the things that’s been happening, which is an epidemic across our county, is that superintendents and other school administrations are coming up with ridiculous songs and they’re playing music and putting sunglasses on and making absolute fools of themselves to cancel school for a snow day,” Mainka declares on the video.
Predictably, that’s when the piano begins to play and the two men don their sunglasses. Then, they sing about how the snow’s intensity has shut down the system’s buses and how you should be helping your parents instead of sleeping until noon. It’s perhaps the best version of “Hallelujah” that a student who just wants a day off will ever hear.
Swartz Creek wasn’t the only one with this idea, though.
Midland (Illinois) Middle School Principal Adam Janssen went slightly more punk rock by giving his take on Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).”
Meanwhile, the Missouri Valley school district in Iowa, led by superintendent Brent Hoesing, also spiced up its announcement that school would be canceled because of a minus-35 degree wind chill. He did that by singing a version of George Michael’s “Faith” that more than 65,000 people have viewed.
This isn’t the first time Hoesing has used his YouTube channel for these sorts of musical announcements. He’s also spoofed “Uptown Funk,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and (of course) “Ice Ice Baby.”
Hoesing isn’t just having fun either. He’s trying to make people smile—even those who aren’t happy about school being closed for the day.
“Calling a snow day is the worst part of my job because you impact so many people immediately, you have students that aren’t going to get a meal, parents that aren’t going to be able to go to work,” Hoesing told KMTV. “It’s just something that hopefully puts a smile on someone’s face.”
Any kind of school closure announcement is sure to make a student celebrate. But give credit to those who are making the extra effort to go viral while giving out the news.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.