The staff and students of Pine Ridge Elementary School are putting on their dance shoes for the first-ever school-wide lip sync


Nathan Peltz

Teachers Sarah Bruha, John Salter, and Brenda Plants posing for the Lip Sync.

When arranging a school-wide lip sync, Pine Ridge principal Nathan Peltz was pleasantly surprised by the immediate enthusiasm and dedication that the staff demonstrated. In fact, the teachers became so invested that a Justin Timberlake fan rivalry broke out. 

“[Art teacher] Sarah Bruha and [fourth grade teacher] John Salter cracked me up,” Peltz said. “They were fighting over some of the lead roles, and I did get a kick out of the staff going back and forth. They were both—in a fun way—one-upping each other. I think it’s only going to make the performance better and make us more cohesive as a staff.”

The joking aspect within the planning phase is sure to reflect the comedy that will be displayed by the teachers on the night of the lip sync. On Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m., the audience is guaranteed to be entertained by a multitude of Pine Ridge dancing talent on Central High School’s auditorium stage. 

Salter has greatly enjoyed the process of choosing a song and choreography for the teacher act. The friendly debates and discussions in the planning phase provide a promising outcome for their routine. 

“[Bruha and I] were joking around with each other,” Salter said. “We had ideas of who we were both going to be in the lip sync, and [it became a] little rivalry. It’s fun for the kids to see us like that and for us as staff members to get together in less intense situations—hanging out and rubbing ideas off each other.”

Along with his own enjoyment of participating, Salter is excited to see how students use their collaboration and creativity skills to create their performances. Aside from song approval and dress rehearsal guidance from the staff, the group organization is almost entirely student-run. 

The goal is to introduce students to another outlet to express themselves and find their passions with an event that varies greatly from everyday routines. 

“We’re hoping to expose kids to some other types of extracurricular activities—such as acting and singing—that we don’t always offer,” Salter said, “so we’re hoping that they’ll draw a crowd, and they’ll see all the other kids that are performing right now. Then, it’ll keep compiling from there as we go.”

Matching the administrators’ enthusiasm, the students of Pine Ridge couldn’t be more excited to participate in the first-ever school-wide lip sync. After being notified of the event in early January, there was a quick turnaround process to file permission slips and assemble groups. 

You end up having so much fun practicing and spending that time together. It feels great when you’re on stage, and students are laughing, smiling, and going ‘wow, look at our teachers.’ It just makes it all worth it.”

— Nathan Peltz

For fourth grader Adelynn O’Brien, there was no question on whether or not she would participate. With unmatched eagerness, her group began planning their dance routine far in advance. 

“[When I heard about it], I was like, ‘oh my gosh, I have to get together with a bunch of people,’” Adelynn said. “We practice at recess and every time we can fit it in. We choreographed all of it, and it’s all done. We just need to get the skills down.”

During each rehearsal at recess and outside of school, everyone in Adelynn’s group enjoys brainstorming choreography and laughing together through the experience. Her group boasts the name “The Five Dancing Divas,” and they decided to present their own version of a Spice Girls classic that perfectly matched the dynamic of the group. 

“Our [dance] is to the song ‘Wannabe,’” Adelynn said. “There are five girls, and they all have names. One of them is Ginger, and I’m going to be Ginger because of my red hair. Then there’s Sporty, Posh, and a couple of other girls. It was perfect because there are five of them, and there are five of us.”

In addition to “The Five Dancing Divas,” around 60 other students will be sharing the spotlight on the night of the performance. Another fourth grader, Aubrey Simpson, is looking forward to showcasing her prior dance experience with her friend, fellow fourth grader Arden Kuzera. 

“My friend Arden just came up to me and said ‘Hey, we should do this together,” Aubrey said. “I wasn’t super pumped about it at first, but now I’m really pumped.”

Aubrey and Arden call themselves “The Double A’s,” and they’re preparing a dance rendition of “Old Town Road,” complete with cowgirl outfits and an abundance of passion. While Aubrey is a bit nervous to perform in a new setting, she’s mostly excited to simply have fun. 

With each act from grade levels K-4, the Pine Ridge lip sync is guaranteed to be an entertaining night. An MC will even provide transitions from one song to the next, and high school students will help with the technical side of a production. Overall, it’s all about the students—and staff—bonding over a wonderful experience. 

“You end up having so much fun practicing and spending that time together,” Peltz said. “It feels great when you’re on stage, and students are laughing, smiling, and going ‘wow, look at our teachers.’ It just makes it all worth it.”

Hopefully, this will mark the start of a long-lasting tradition at Pine Ridge Elementary school. No matter the outcome, it will undoubtedly bring the students closer together, create lasting memories, and expand their horizons to the joy of performing. 

“I’m excited for the energy of the night,” Peltz said. “Hopefully, they have a great time with everybody that they’re working with in the group and [form] lasting friendships, and at the same time, they get to present using their own props and song choice. I’ve had so many students come up to me with a huge smile saying, ‘we’re doing a song; it’s going to be so fun!’”