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Classroom Voices

Massachusetts students recreate election reactions with Mannequin Challenge

December 5, 2016

In the wake of the election, reactions to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory have played out in school classrooms and hallways across the country.

One group of students at Somerville High School in Somerville, Massachusetts decided to capture the range of emotions they were experiencing by creating a video using the Mannequin Challenge — a viral trend in which a group of people are filmed frozen in various positions, creating a snapshot of teenage life.

While #MannequinChallenge videos often feature teenagers in funny situations, the video filmed by students at Somerville High School two days after the election showcases young people and their teachers dealing with feelings like anger, confusion and grief, in addition to celebration.

“Because I am a minor and wasn’t able to vote, it was my way to show how I feel about it all,” said Ella Sprick, a senior at Somerville High School who helped plan and create the video.

Somerville High School seniors Spencer Pitkin, Ella Sprick, Anika Kawsar and Bianka De Paula

Somerville High School seniors Spencer Pitkin, Ella Sprick, Anika Kawsar and Bianka De Paula helped create the video. (Courtesy Kevin Dua)

Kevin Dua, a history teacher at Somerville who helped the students produce their video, said the students decided using the Mannequin Challenge would allow them to best capture their feelings about the election.

“I hope that the message is conveyed … that with our diverse children, there are those of us in the education realm that are trying to empower the generation to critically examine their world as equals. This is one of many ways that Somerville High School is exploring with this election,” Dua wrote in an email.

The video currently has more than 10,000 views on YouTube and may inspire other students to find creative ways to respond to and process what many viewed as an especially divisive and polarizing election.

“It’s one thing for teachers, adults and the media to tell us what to think or feel about the world — it’s another when [we] get to express how we think or feel,” said Somerville senior Bianka De Paula, who also participated in the video. “That’s why we knew it was important that we do so, especially as young adults.”

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