Midland Valley High School senior records more modern music to the alma mater song

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF)- A school’s alma mater song is intended to express pride in the institution, but most students don’t know the words to theirs. And many alma maters were written decades ago and kids don’t connect with them– until now.

For many students the alma mater is something you hear a couple times a year at special events.
Midland Valley High School’s principal wanted to change that, so he enlisted the help of a teacher and a very talented student to add a modern flair to the song.

Every morning when school begins, the Midland Valley High School alma mater plays through the halls.

It is Midland Valley high school principal, Sheldon Higginbottom’s, goal to foster as much school spirit and pride as he can while he is there. He told NewsChannel 6 he thought that having an alma mater that students can relate to is part of that.

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“And you know how it is at the end of graduation, we we play our alma mater and I look around and nobody is singing it. And I start thinking of you know, ways to to make it popular,” he explained.

Higginbottom approached Francesca Mackie, the school’s Media Technology teacher about updating the schools alma mater in a way that would get kids excited about it and wanting to sing it.

“And so it wasn’t actually the lyrics of the alma mater. Originally, I had written just a Midland Valley song to play on the scoreboard,” Mackie said.

In 2023, Higgenbottom told Mackie he wanted a rap version of the Alma mater. Mackie blended her song with the Alma Mater and set it to a beat, but wasn’t quite happy with it. Both Higginbottom and Mackie thought that senior, Omarrion Jordan, was the perfect candidate for the job.

“And just the joy on his face, the smile. He’s got just a great personality that people just like to be around. And when I saw him with that smile and I started thinking about like, that’s my guy,” Higgenbottom said.

Jordan said that he was flattered that they thought he could do it and set out to do the best he could do.

“So I put it and put it inside my headphones. I’m like, Okay, I’m just listening to it over and over and over by constantly listening to the beat. I’m trying to find a flow. And it just like I can’t. So it just like I’m like, okay, let me listen to how he did it first and just basically say how he’s saying it, but add my own style to it. And that’s exactly what I did.”

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Mackie said the day after she gave Jordan the task of updating the song, he had it done.

“And I was not expecting him to have it that fast. He took it home and he just really transformed the demo that I gave him because my beat was a little different. So and he made it sound like the kind of rap lyrics that they listen to today.”

Once the song was finished, Mackie and her Media Tech class created a music video to go with it. Now, the song has taken off like wildfire in the school. There’s even a dance to go with it.

Now the song is played every afternoon and there is even a Spanish and country version. Jordan said that hearing the praise from educators like Mackie and Higginbottom means the world to him.

“So it was like I was at a loss for words. And when I heard it, because I was like, I never had anybody like, that’s opening me tell me stuff like that beside my family. So it’s like for another adult that’s way older than me to tell me something like that, it made me feel proud of myself, like I’m doing something good.”

Jordan is working on several other songs, including one about how hard teachers work. He’s hoping to go into a music career- among other things- after high school.

Photojournalist: Dania Alawir.

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