After Katy Perry put out a call for high schools students to submit their own rendition of her hit song, "Roar," for a chance to win a special performance on "Good Morning America," hundreds of high schools roared right back, producing their own videos with inspirational and spirited storylines.
Almost 1,000 videos poured in from 44 states, and the high schools embraced the challenge in different ways: One did its own unique choreography. Others spotlighted issues teens face in the hallways every day, from bullying to peer pressure, or brought the school and community together to give back.
Perry, who narrowed it down to five finalists, said she was inspired by the creativity and school spirit on display.
"It was so exciting to see all of your submissions -- all of the different variety, all of the creativity. It was so encouraging and inspiring to me to see all of the school spirit that still exists," Perry said in a message on "GMA." "All of you guys coming together to 'Roar,' to make your own kind of roar. I just want to say thank you, and I am encouraged by all of your love and support, and I can't wait to pick a winner."
The winning school will be announced on "GMA" Oct. 18. Perry's special concert will be broadcast live on "GMA" on Oct. 25 -- which also happens to be the singer's 29th birthday.
Click through to see the five finalists in the running.
When it comes to roaring, the Verrado High School cheerleaders are hard to match. The Buckeye, Ariz., school's entry into the "Good Morning America"/Katy Perry "Roar" contest is making waves on the Internet, in part because of one special cheerleader.
Megan Squire, 17, has Down syndrome. Despite her condition, the high school senior chased her dream of becoming a cheerleader.
Verrado High School student Clayton Mueller decided to share his fellow student's story with the world. While his friend, Philip Hoang, manned the camera, Mueller wrote and directed his school's very own "Roar" video, with Megan Squire as its star. She was thrilled.
"I was super excited when Clay wanted me to be in the video," she said.
The video went viral and made headlines. Mueller described the public's response as "just a chain reaction of how this one simple girl can spark a revolution in ideas and thoughts and things people can do."
Tom Huffman, the school's principal, described himself as "a proud dad right now because we've worked so hard at this school to build this culture of openness and caring."
His students hope their story has what it takes to bring Katy Perry to their school. Their entry has made it to the contest finals.
"I think she should come here because we worked really hard on this video," Squire said.
Her mother agreed, adding: "What these kids have created with her 'Roar' music video, I don't think anybody can touch it."
A Colorado high school's lip dub video to Katy Perry's hit "Roar" caught Perry's attention off the bat, becoming an Internet sensation. Over 2,000 students and staff at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, Colo., gathered over homecoming week on "Spirit Day" to make the video, which they said was done in a one-shot take.
The school, whose mascot is fittingly a tiger, had students from every stripe of high school life outfitted in orange and black lip-sync to Perry's lyrics group by group. Panning from student athletes to cheerleaders to members of the pep band, drama club and more, the high-energy video ends with everyone gathering on the football field in what seemingly turns into the ultimate pep rally.
Courtney Coddington, the student body president who directed and produced the video, and fellow senior Gavin Rudy, an aspiring filmmaker who edited it, said they had no problem getting the entire student body on board.
If selected for their "Roar" rendition, Coddington and Rudy say they want to turn the concert into a benefit for those affected by the massive Colo. floods, which devastated many communities and hit as the planning for their video was underway.
Lakewood High School Principal Ron Castagna said the students' idea to give back with the video is a reflection of the heart, drive, and spirit of the student body.
"This has been a big 'we' effort. They are thrilled if we win it, but the message really is, 'We are family,'" Castagna said, referencing the school's motto. "This generation is not what it's portrayed out there....We've got kids going to medical school and wanting to be teachers. It's a great generation and we got to start building up our kids and building up."
For Spanish Springs High School's budding media students, the Perry contest challenge was their biggest assignment yet.
Cole Anderson, the executive producer of the video that the Sparks, Nev., high school submitted, said he and his fellow students wanted their entry to stand out. With that goal in mind, they crafted a storyline revolving around three topical issues: bullying, cheating and family problems.
The production has "real life situations that people can identify with, that everyone has, little or small, it doesn't matter," Anderson told "GMA."
Annie Wagner, Jordyn Owens and Sam Ruebush were cast as the three female leads in the video.
"Any teenager can overcome the problems that are illustrated through our video," Owens said.
After hundreds of hours of planning, the entire student body got involved. They even got a plane donated to film their effort. "This school has never had this type of spirit and energy and today," Mike Bowers, the school's broadcast journalist teacher, said. "You can almost hear it buzzing."
From their booming band to choir class, the students of Cooper High School have voices that demand to be heard. But when Katy Perry invited high schools to submit videos with their own rendition of her hit song "Roar," this Abilene, Texas, school chose to focus on those without a voice.
"We were just like, 'Why don't we have people that are on the back burners, that don't really have a voice. Why don't we have them as the main characters in this?'" the video's creator, Jasminh Abor, said.
Teacher Deborah Kirby said students in several classes were asked to write down something negative that they'd been told or felt.
The students held up each others' signs, displaying their fears and insecurities like badges of honor.
The video shows the students displaying the signs, some of which read: "I am different"; "I am not like them"; "I am a freak"; "I am too fat"; "I will never be successful," and "I should kill myself."
The video is also a metaphor for Cooper High's local status. The school is often the underdog when it goes up against the rival high school in the town.
"People are always trying to put our school in a box and label us as something, and I think this video has just blown that wide open," Kirby said.
At Pickerington High School Central in Ohio, it's all about the Tigers, but the students channeled a far different animal than their mascot for their entry: the butterfly.
Two years ago, Shayna Fowler started "The Butterfly Project," an organization that operates at the school and which is designed to empower young women. "Our goal is to teach them that they are valuable, loveable, capable and beautiful," Fowler said.
To spread the message of empowerment, Fowler teamed up with Darby Burch. They solicited stories of students who had overcome being marginalized, and represented those triumphs in the video.
"They embraced the uniqueness of everybody," Zack Howard, the school's principal, said. "Every one of our students has a champion inside of them."
Holly Hollopeter starred in the Pickerington video, playing a girl who appeared to have been overlooked.
"I've been through a lot of the same issues that are portrayed, so I really wanted to use this role to speak for those who couldn't find a voice themselves," she said.
Fowler hopes her school's video will bring Perry to Pickerington High School Central.
"We are so inspired by her, so we hope that she would be inspired by us," she said.
- Primary & Secondary Schools
- Katy Perry