CASA GRANDE — On a recent sunny afternoon, teachers Doug and Kathy Harding sat in their backyard, their noses and mouths covered with blue face masks as they made a rap video about proper hand washing, coronavirus and missing their students.
As Kathy raps lyrics, Doug washes his hands in a pail of water.
“We’re staying safe like you should too and not going out to roam,” Kathy raps in the video. “We gotta keep things clean and wipe them down and make sure to stay at home.”
The couple, who for several years have run the theater program at Vista Grande High School, recorded the message to let their students know they are thinking about them.
They posted their video on the school Facebook page along with several other teachers who offered recorded messages of hope and encouragement to their students.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, students throughout the state did not return to school following spring break and are completing the year through an at-home program.
“Another teacher recommended that teachers record messages for their students, just so they wouldn’t feel alone or isolated,” Doug said. “We were expecting to see our students after spring break, then we were disappointed when the school closure extended through the end of the year because we never got a chance to say goodbye to them in person.”
The couple wanted to be creative in their message to set an example for their performing arts students.
“We wanted to be an example for them to step out of their comfort zones and try something new and even potentially embarrassing,” Doug said. “As for why we did a rap? Kathy says it’s because she can’t sing.”
The couple also hoped to demonstrate that props and costumes aren’t necessary to entertain audiences.
“We expect our students to push themselves and what better way than to model for them,” Doug said.
The couple, who both retire this year, often took a group of students to New York City for spring break to see a Broadway play and learn more about the acting profession. This year’s trip was canceled due to the coronavirus.
“It hurt our students and us that our trip got canceled. So we wanted our video to help explain to our students the severity of the virus. That might actually help them to cope with the loss of the trip and the loss of the rest of the school year,” Doug said.
In the video, Doug demonstrates proper hand washing while Kathy raps about it.
“We wanted to show them that even we are following the recommendations, staying home and staying safe. And that we haven’t killed each other yet,” Doug said.