The story behind #BATID

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Broken Arrow — Last school year many people all over America learned about the creativity, spirit and school pride at Broken Arrow High School thanks to the 2015 BAHS viral lip dub video.

Now, Broken Arrow High School has been named one of four finalists for the title of “America’s Most Spirited High School.” The Varsity Brands sponsored contest required schools to submit a ninety-second video, an essay detailing their schools spirit story, two letters of recommendation by administration and two photographs representing school spirit.

Broken Arrow and three other schools – Bingham High of Utah, El Toro High of Lake Forest, California, and Kahuku High of Hawaii – are finalists for the top prize in the second annual Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards. The organization celebrates the best high schools in the nation in 23 categories and will be awarding $25,000 to the school that is named “America’s Most Spirited High School.”

This honor is representative of the hard work by the students on campus and the change in culture at Broken Arrow High School over the past few years.

Seniors Johna Pulliam and Chase Gaddis wrote the essay describing why Broken Arrow should be considered the most spirited school in the nation. The two are involved with the school’s leadership programs, and their essay details the growth in school spirit in their three years at BAHS.

“It feels absolutely surreal,” Gaddis said. “I can’t believe how quickly our school has become the way it is now. I am just excited we made it to the top four.”

Students feel that Jason Jedamski, BA’s Director of Student Life and Activities was the spark that ignited Broken Arrow’s spirit flame four years ago.

“I believe our school got to this point with a lot of hard work and thinking outside of the box by Mr. Jedamski,” Pulliam said.

Jedamski feels this nomination illustrates the dedication to spirit of the school, including staff members and students.

“It is a great honor for Broken Arrow High School to have the opportunity to compete in Varsity Brand’s Most Spirited High School contest,” Jedamski said. “The inclusion of Broken Arrow as a finalist reflects the great pride and love our students and staff have for being Broken Arrow Tigers.”

The contest stipulated that the ninety second video showcase school spirit in a variety of ways, and Video Production Manager Greg Spencer, Nolan Couch and ArrowVision students did their best to capture the school’s spirit in action.

“Two years ago myself and some students came up with that idea to do a song called #BATID based on the BA Til I Die chant the students often do at football games and other events,” Spencer said. “However, we never came up with a song we were happy with until this year.”

Broken Arrow Varsity Cheer Coach Amy Howe informed Spencer and Jedamski about the Varsity Brands contest late last semester, and from there the idea for the video was born.

“Noah Schatz is a student we’ve had in our video production program for two years now, and I knew he could rap, so after we found out about this contest I knew we needed to finally make the #BATID project happen,” Spencer said. “We sat down and I gave him some bullet points about what the song needed to say, and he took it from there.”

For Schatz, recording was the most difficult part.

“The hardest part of the process for me was literally recording the song,” Schatz said “I have little studio area set up in my room where I literally record in the closet with a blanket over my head. I did the recording at 2 a.m., so everyone in my house was dead asleep, and I was in my closet yelling at the top of my lungs. I feel honored that I was able to help our school out.”

Spencer and Schatz reached out to Broken Arrow senior Jacob Warden to provide the music for the song. The talented Warden is an aspiring hip-hop producer who goes by DJ BeeAyy and crafted the original beat to go with Schatz’s lyrics.

“I had a great experience being a part of this project,” Warden said. “I made the beat in my room and brought it to Spencer and Noah the next day, and they loved it. I did additional production work at the studio at Tulsa Tech, and it took me about a week and a half to mix the vocals and master it, but it was well worth the time.”

The administration at Broken Arrow is excited to see the outcome of the competition between the other schools across the nation. Whether or not Broken Arrow wins, it is considered a huge accomplishment by many.

“Our school spirit is best seen in the support that our students show each other throughout the year in activities, athletics, academics and the arts,” Principal Elizabeth Burns said. “This makes me proud of our students and our school every single day.”

Students and staff have been spreading the word to the community via social media to vote for BA at The school with the most votes by the March 15 deadline will win the award, which will be announced in May.

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