This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
I’m not giving up today
There’s nothing getting in my way
And if you knock knock me over
I will get back up again” —lyrics from “Get Back Up Again,” from Trolls
That song, and that movie, are 5-year-old Kelsey Berger’s favorite. So when Kelsey, daughter of Smith Clove Elementary School Principal Christopher Berger, was diagnosed with leukemia, members of the school community took that as their inspiration.
Wearing troll hair and special tie-dyed “Kelsey’s Krusaders” T-shirts, hundreds of teachers, students, school staff, administrators, and families in Central Valley, N.Y., made a one-of-a-kind, 12-minute music video
to brighten her day, lip-synching and dancing their way through songs from her favorite film.
The hallmark “I will get back up again” line turned up again and again on the backs of the dancers’ colorful shirts as they roller-skated through the halls, line-danced in the cafeteria, showered the air with confetti, released balloons into the sky, and held up heart-shaped signs of “hope” and “love.”
There were gymnasts turning handsprings, cheerleaders doing formations in the gym, a marching band, even the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders baseball team, all hoping to create a distraction for a “moment or two” for the girl.
“The video that was created for Kelsey was the single most amazing act of love and care that I’ve experienced in my lifetime,” her dad wrote in a thank-you letter to the community. “As I shared with the Smith Clove staff, if the objectives were to put a smile on Kelsey’s face and to provide a wonderful distraction from her treatments, both were accomplished.”