The world is catching on to a profound message sent via YouTube from a group of diverse middle-school students in a Madison City public school.
“I’m Human,” which began as a vision, became a collaborative video production of a very powerful and creative message, and it has gone viral. Carried by compelling music, the message connects the viewer with a world view of humanity.
Steven Mathis, 8th grade language arts teacher at Liberty Middle School, had a vision for the project, and he shared it with his language arts colleague and broadcast media teacher, Daniel Whitt.
Filmed and produced by Mr. Whitt in only one week, the video features all shapes, sizes, colors and ages of people with very unique, yet very common human qualities. The idea was born from Mr. Whitt’s experience with The Challenge Day, an organization with a vision “that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.”
For the project, an intentionally diverse group of 100 students and 25 adults (teachers, parents and school leaders) were selected. They were asked to write on a white poster something they want to share that’s unique about them. Some personal statements they chose were light-hearted, some were surprisingly revealing, and some were heart-breaking. But all clearly demonstrated the very human qualities with which others around the world can relate.
The video has had over 111,000 hits on YouTube so far, and calls to Liberty Middle School have been frequent regarding this project – even contact from as far as Australia. It was also featured in the New York Times Opinion Pages on the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Carmen Buchanan, the Instructional Partner* at Liberty MS, said the video has been shared with their school district, nationally, and internationally. Many have been using it as a “springboard” for similar initiatives and to initiate meaningful discussion on character development, anti-bullying and celebrating our human differences.
*Instructional Partners program is a collaboration between the Alabama Dept. of Education, city and county school systems and A+ Education Partnership, to help improve student achievement.