Students create anti-bullying video

Emily Cardinal and friends recently remade her “Misfits” video to share with other students through the PACER Center. (Submitted photo)

Emily Cardinal and friends recently remade her “Misfits” video to share with other students through the PACER Center. (Submitted photo)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

A musical hit at Central will be spread to other students across the state to help raise their confidence much like it did its creator.
Now a junior, Norwood Young America teen Emily Cardinal created the hit “Misfits” video while over at a sleepover at her best friend Megan Knickerbocker’s bedroom as a freshman.
Bolstered by the support of Knickerbocker, Cardinal was able to share her song and her yet undiscovered talent.
“A video got put up on Facebook,” she said. “At the time I didn’t have Facebook, so I didn’t know what was going on with it. It just exploded within my peers and everybody just knew this song I had written.”
As the song spread quickly among Central students, it raised Cardinal’s notoriety in school, because she went from being someone no one knew to someone everyone knew.
“I was the girl in the video,” she said. “It completely transformed my life, the first video.”
It also gave her the confidence to share her musical passions, which include singing and playing the guitar, ukulele and flute.
“No one had ever heard me sing before so that’s kind of how my music got started,” she said. “It wasn’t my first song but it was the song that put me on the map.”
Since that time she has grown her talent as a singer/songwriter, continuing to write songs and also perform in local coffee shops.
Influenced by bands such as the Beatles, Brandi Carlisle, Maroon 5 and the Avett Brothers, she has fallen in love with performing.
“It gives me this rush that I’ve gotten kind of addicted to,” she said. “I like performing for my friends and family and for random strangers, too. That’s always fun.”
Cardinal recently got involved in the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center, an organization based in Minnesota, which works with families of children and young adults with any disability. In 2006, PACER expanded to engage and educate communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources.
Through her involvement, an updated video will be used by the PACER Center in their new curriculum that involves students going into classrooms to teach younger students.
Cardinal and her friends recently updated the video, a single shot which featured her singing, to a more complex and whole piece.
The song’s message remains the same, focusing on working through difficulties and believing in yourself, knowing hard work will pay off if you stick with who you are.
“I was kind of struggling with being different and feeling as though I didn’t fit in,” said Cardinal. “That’s where the whole idea of being a misfit came about.”
This message has resonated with students, Cardinal said, as evidenced by the feedback she has received following performances with Central Middle School students.
“People have told me that it brings people a lot of hope,” she said. “A lot of kids have sent me messages and reached out and talked to me and said ‘I feel very alone in school, I don’t have very many friends, but this video made me feel like I could identify with it and that’s it going to be OK.”
The updated music video  also includes the music of Zach Howard and was filmed by Nathan Goetze. Other actors include Rachel Hegseth, Haley Peterson, Megan Knickerbocker, Angie Kullicka, Megan Miller, Megan Geis, Kaylie Brazil, Alli Curson, Whitney Carlson and McKayla Lobitz.
Shot in Cardinal’s house, her neighborhood and Central High School, the video begins with Cardinal waking up with “Misfit” written on her forehead.
It then follows her story as well as a lanky kid with glasses, the girl who doesn’t skip classes and other characters representing the misfits, in addition to a group of mean girls.
“By the end we all start dancing and having a good time,” she said. “The word misfit comes off my face and it’s supposed to show the evolution of being alone and feeling like a misfit to celebrating that and celebrating individuality.”
Thus far it has gotten a lot of positive feedback from those who have seen it, including her parents Dale and Karen and brother Andrew, who will be senior a Central.
“To be honest I kind of impressed myself with how this all came together,” she said. “I had a vision in my head on how I wanted this video to go and thanks to the help of other people, it became what I wanted it to be.”
This upcoming school year, Cardinal will continue to explore her musical interest at Purpose Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, a decision she made while in middle school, but became harder to make recently.
“Up until this year I never thought it would be a difficult decision,” she said. “But this year I got involved in a lot of different things and I realized leaving would be leaving my friends and leaving these different activities. So leaving became a difficult decision but I think it will pay off.”
While only a junior, she hopes to continue to perform and promote her music and continue to grow.
“I’d love to keep music in my life,” she said. “Whether that’s through performing it professionally or on the side as a hobby, I’m not quite sure yet. But I know my future has music in it somehow.”
To check out some of Emily Cardinal’s videos, visit her YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/Itsjustmeemily1.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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