Butler High’s lip sync battle is quite likely the coolest thing ever to come from North Carolina’s standardized testing program.
On Wednesday, just before everyone went home for winter break, students and teachers at the Matthews school turned out with costumes, props and plenty of drama to square off in a contest of choreographed karaoke, with tunes ranging from “Jingle Bell Rock” to “Fabulous.”
Not only was it fun, but it raised almost $2,700 through ticket sales, which the student government and other clubs used to buy gift cards for students in need.
So what does this have to do with exams?
Well, the state requires schools to block off about five hours for each exam. But as Butler math teacher Paul Mayfield discovered during his first year as a teacher in 2013-14, students finish in about two.
“You give high-schoolers that much free time and they can get a little crazy,” he said. He knew he needed a way to fill all that dead time. When he and his wife saw Jimmy Fallon’s lip sync battle on Spike TV, a Butler tradition was born.
Mayfield started doing his own choreography to pop music and challenging his students to outdo him. That isn’t easy. Mayfield, now 27, is both competitive and theatrical. But Mayfield says one of the best things about the challenge is seeing quiet students step up and strut their stuff, to the delight of classmates.
Mayfield says his students voted him the winner of his classroom competitions 16 times. He has lost to students only twice. The first time was to senior Landon Heisler.
This year Mayfield and fellow math teacher Sheree Heisler, who is also Landon’s mom, decided to take the show schoolwide for a good cause. They settled on a teachers vs. students contest, with students using text-message voting to choose a winner from each match-up.
It came down to Mayfield, who rocked a glitter top and spike heels in one number and enlisted students for an NSYNC bit later, squaring off with Landon Heisler, who carried a pink umbrella and doused himself with water for “It’s Raining Men.” The audience chose Heisler by almost 2-to-1.
Bet on Mayfield coming back next year to try again.