Spring semester was off to a pretty normal start at Rolling Meadows High School. The school, in a northwest suburb of Chicago, was gearing up for the goodbye rituals of every spring semester: senior prom, end-of-year exams and graduation.
Caitlyn Walsh, the school's music teacher, was looking forward to the big choir concert and the spring musical. "From the fine arts scene we have a lot of end-of-year activities that are very cherished," she says.
Walsh had worked with this group of students for four years, and knew they were special, a "really strong senior class." So for their spring concert she pulled out all the stops — even ordering custom red T-shirts for the show. When the news broke that all Illinois schools were closed, Walsh and her students were crushed.
She was picking up the t-shirts from a friend in her neighborhood when she heard schools were shutting down. And then, she had an epiphany: "this a-ha moment of, 'You know, why don't we just get something together?' So that way, we can at least honor the concert."
She told her students to come grab their T-shirts and then send in videos of themselves singing their parts. One of her seniors mixed all the videos together, and the end result sounded like they were all on-stage together.