Mario Villalobos


  • Journal

Last April, while the world was in lockdown and all the schools in Montana were closed, our school principal asked me if I would help him coordinate a school-wide music video project. At the time, there was a #DancingPrincipal challenge making its way across schools in Montana, and our principal thought it would be a fun project for our kids and our community to participate in as a distraction from the grim news crowding everyone’s psyche. I agreed and the above music video is the result of everyone’s efforts.

I gave the principal rough directions to send out in his email to everyone, but mostly, the kids and the parents had full creative control over what they shot. The result was, I think, amazing. I loved receiving everyone’s submissions, especially at a time when it had been weeks since I had seen any of them in person, and I had even more fun dropping each clip into my editing software and watching it in sync with the music. I finished editing the final project on Easter Sunday, and I posted it to our school Facebook page that day.

In the end, the reception was incredible. It has been watched over 14 thousand times, and it has hundreds of likes and shares. It was one of those things that made the early parts of the pandemic seem bright and hopeful, like things might not be as bad as they eventually became. I’m posting this now because I’m starting to feel that hope again. The world has never produced vaccines this effective this quickly, and even though there are multiple variants of the virus infecting people all over the world, it seems that these vaccines work against those, too. We have a president that actually believes in science and in the power of a functioning government, and it seems like his goal of getting 100 million people vaccinated in 100 days will not only be reached but surpassed.

I’ve had this dark cloud hanging over me for so long that I’m afraid of letting myself feel like this, but sometimes I just have to let go and let myself feel happy.