May 15 – Dennis Lab School unveiled their new school fight song Tuesday that was created with the help of students and Millikin University.
The song, called “Step It Up,” was the product of a project based learning course (PBL). Brittany Acree, Dennis Middle School math teacher, said the song came at an important time in the school’s history. “This has been our fifth year for middle school and we just started sports three years ago. So with the new development of the sports program, we thought ‘We don’t have a fight song.’ We have an alma mater, which is fantastic and we still sing that, but we don’t have something just for sports games to cheer and chant to or something the cheerleaders an do a routine to.” That was when the idea for the song was born.
Millikin senior Mandy Haack is a Music Business major but she her love of education brought her to do an internship with Dennis and get involved with the creation of the fight song. “It’s been an amazing experience to do this internship in an odd way where you have never ever taught in a classroom to now going right in and teaching classes. It was crazy but I think I learned more through this experience than in a classroom setting.” Haack used her expertise in music to help the students put the anthem together.
Mikayla Johnson, a seventh grade student, said there were multiple ways students could be involved in the project. “There was a business group, a song writing group, and an engineering group. The business group talking about how to get the song out there and the song writing group made the song with Ms. Mandy.” Dennis Social Studies teacher Keith Creighton said they created the multiple groups to give students an idea of what the whole music industry was about.
Once the song was created, it was time to get it recorded. Before they performed the school song, Creighton said they experimented with a different song. “We recruited some of the elementary students to go over and sing the alma mater because we didn’t have a recording of it. We had the music and you can teach it through music class but we never had a recording of that. So we used that to learn how to record so that when we went over and recorded the fight song, the students would know what was going on. The students could set up the mics and the headsets all by themselves and they knew everything they needed to make it happen.”
The PBL students debuted their song during a special assembly on Tuesday and taught the school the words. Once school let out, you could hear students singing the songs while they left for the day.
You can listen to the recording here: