Marco Forster community takes ‘Blinding Lights’ Challenge

By Capo Insider staff

The Marco Forster Middle School community has been doing a lot of dancing lately — and a lot of other things its students, staff and parents are interested in.

All that moving and shaking has been Marco Foster’s take on the Blinding Lights Challenge, a dance routine to The Weeknd’s song “Blinding Lights.” The dance went viral last year, making the rounds on social media and even the “Fortnite” game.

Throughout March, the San Juan Capistrano campus has been submitting videos — generally very short ones — of the dance and other activities. They’re being assembled with the “Blinding Lights” song as the soundtrack.

Marco Forster Principal Catherine Thompson said the challenge has its roots as a COVID-19 pandemic response. On-campus school life resumed in the fall. The school has two cohorts (yellow and red) that visit campus on alternating days.

The school has coronavirus safety measures, but the severity of the virus has taken its toll on the campus community like everywhere else in the world. Losses have been felt.

“It’s been a heavy year. Very intense,” Thompson said.

Recently, campus leaders looked back on the year’s theme: embracing change, challenge, and community. The first two have been easy to come by, but community was harder with social distancing and remote learning. That got them thinking.

“We were trying to brainstorm what we could do to shift the focus for the end of the year, to improve and lighten it up a bit,” Thompson said.

The result was a dance challenge, a way for the students to showcase their talents. The challenge started with Marco Forster faculty filming themselves doing the “Blinding Lights” dance on the blacktop.

Then it morphed into something else.

For weeks, more than 100 videos poured into eighth-grade social studies teacher Lindsey Behm’s possession. Behm has been tasked with organizing and compiling the footage.

There were “Blinding Lights” dances moves, sure. But there were also videos of dancing babies, dancing dogs, people biking, doing extreme sports. One came in of synchronized swimming.

It’s been a wide variety of whatever Marco Forster students, staff, and parents are interested in — a talent show for 2021.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Behm said.

Some students have been taking the lead, acting as choreographers or directors. Students who are still at home doing remote learning are participating too, as are those with disabilities.

Thompson said grades are even improving amid all this camaraderie.

The challenge concluded on April 1 and 2 with a long video, which is now available online.

Marco Forster’s “Blinding Lights” Challenge “has given us all something else to talk about,” Thompson said. “We all get to be a little bit silly instead of so serious.”

“The students are very proud of their accomplishments,” added Behm.

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