The Woodward News


October 20, 2013

Highland Park zombies a hit on Internet

Woodward, Okla. — What started out as a 5th grade music project has turned into an Internet sensation.

A zombie themed music video of the Highland Park Elementary 5th grade class has now garnered more than 25,000 votes as part of an online contest sponsored by Music K-8.

Highland Park music teacher Misty Mihelich explained that Music K-8 is the company from which she orders music supplies for her classroom.

While reviewing the latest catalog, Mihelich said she saw that Music K-8 was sponsoring a video contest in which schools were asked to create videos of students singing and dancing to "Zombie Style," a song by Teresa Jennings which parodies the pop song "Gangnam Style."

"I thought it would be a good project for our 5th graders for multiple reasons," Mihelich said.  "It would allow them to see how music is used in the entertainment industry; they would have to work as a team; and it incorporates project-based learning."

She explained that she attended a workshop over the summer in which she learned more about the benefits of project-based learning.

"Project-based learning maintains that students retain what they learn better if they actually figure things out for themselves.  So if you guide them through the project process, they'll understand it better and the learning lasts, rather than just spoon-feeding them information," she said.

Another benefit of the video project is that it allowed the students to express their creativity, Mihelich said.

"I learned that my students are very creative," she said.  "They actually came up with a lot of the choreography and they came up with a lot of the costume ideas.  It was just a very creative process for everybody involved."

It turned out to be a bit of a chaotic process as well.

Since Mihelich only meets with the 5th graders about twice a week, she said they only got in a few 30-minute rehearsals before it came time to shoot the video.

And while many parents, even more than she had thought, came out to help on the day of the shoot, things still got a little hectic.

"It was mass chaos with baby powder flying everywhere and black eyeliner being passed around," she said.

In addition to helping with the students' ghoulish make-up, parent volunteers also helped with costumes and photography, she said.  The video was even filmed and edited by the father of one of her 2nd grade students.

And the now 5-minute, 42-second video took over an hour and a half to shoot.

But Mihelich said all the effort was worth it because "it was a great experience."

"What amazes me is the skill level and level of energy of all the people who were involved; that's what made it so great," she said.

And, as far as she's concerned, Highland Park has the best entry out of the dozen videos that have been submitted from schools across the nation.

"If you go watch all the videos, ours is definitely the best with the choreography, costumes, make-up and editing with the different scenes and everything," Mihelich said.  "Most of the other schools basically just stood there and sang the song.  We really do have the best video, but you don't win for best video.  the video that wins is the one that gets the most votes."

And so far, thanks to community support, Mihelich said that Woodward has been able to take the lead.

But she said there has been one school giving them a run for their money.

"There's another school in Illinois that has passed us, then we would get more votes and they would pass us again and we would get more votes," she said.  "I think that has gotten people excited and now we have people who are voting constantly to try to keep us in the lead."

Mihelich said some people have even been contacting their relatives in other states, and even in other countries, to drum up more votes for the video.

"We've gotten votes from North Carolina, Missouri, Florida and we even have people in Africa and Europe voting for us," she said.

Mihelich said it may seem like a lot of fuss for a small prize, as the contest winner only receives a $250 gift certificate for products from Music K-8.

But she said she feels the real prize has been the support that the community has shown for the project.

"It's made me feel really emotional and just overwhelmed that our community could be so supportive of what these kids have done," she said.  "It has really become a unifying thing for our district because it's not just the 5th grade and it's not just Highland Park, it's Woodward.  Our whole town has come together and everybody is excited about it and encouraging people to support the video."

To her the 25,000-plus votes doesn't just show that her students and parent volunteers made a great video.  "It shows that Woodward cares about kids and cares about encouraging our kids and seeing them succeed," she said.

While that caring spirit has already made her students winners in her eyes, Mihelich said she still wouldn't mind winning the gift certificate as well.

"I already have a list made out for what I would get for my classroom," she said.  "A lot of our instruments are old, cracked and breaking.  Mostly our rhythm sticks and things like that which we use frequently.  So it would help us to replace those old instruments.  And I'm also looking at a few other teaching aids, which would help bring fresh informational resources for us to use in the classroom."

To view and vote on Highland Park's video, visit and click on the link in the middle of the page for the "Zombie Style Video Contest."  The voting period is open until midnight on Oct. 31.

Text Only
  • jonesweb.jpg Jones wraps up career with Southgate United

    Next week will see the end to almost a half century of meat cutting for Bob Jones, who is retiring July 18 as the meat department manager at Southgate United.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • literacyweb.jpg ESL classes continue to grow

    When Cambodian born Kuneth Ly (pronounced Lee) came to live in Oklahoma with her American born husband, she didn’t know any English at all and she certainly never thought she would wind up living in Woodward as a business owner.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seniors discuss holiday memories

    Periodically, the Woodward News plans to visit with local and area seniors to get their memories and thoughts on special days, events or various issues and share them with our readers. And what better way to start off than with memories of the Fourth of July.

    July 2, 2014

  • Dairy Queen marks 50th year of selling fireworks

    July 4, 2014 will mark the 50th year for the Dairy Queen Fireworks Stand.

    June 30, 2014

  • Historic bridge anchors renovations at Doby Springs

    An historic, depression era bridge listed on the National Historical Register has been trucked from Grant County, where the bridge spanned Sand Creek since 1936, to Doby Springs Park and Golf Course near Buffalo.

    May 25, 2014

  • Lighthouse can help change lives

    Self admitted methamphetamine and prescription drug addict, "Jay" describes his life nearly a month ago as being in a free fall that would have eventually ended badly.

    April 10, 2014

  • reaweb.jpg Rea recalls a career in history

    Retirement for some people can begin a transition fraught with a little spell of depression and even grief over the loss of one’s job, which many use to define themselves.

    March 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • redcrossweb.jpg New volunteer joins Red Cross

    March is Red Cross Awareness Month.
    “It is a time to honor the mission and we use this as a chance to honor the everyday heroes that help us fulfill the mission,” said Northwest Oklahoma Red Cross chapter Disaster Services director Gordon Burgess.

    March 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troop 251web.jpg Plans made for Troop 251 reunion

    When D. L. "Ferd" Waddell, retired veterinarian, left Woodward approximately 12 years ago, his friend Linda Meyer promised she would plan a reunion of Boy Scout Troop 251, over which Dr. Waddell was scoutmaster for nearly 13 years.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • City saying goodbye to veteran police captain

    Woodward Police Capt. Tony Alexander has been a cop so long, he's not sure what he's going to do in the second half of his life. But that's about the only thing he's not sure of.

    February 23, 2014