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Barrington High School student takes on worldwide audience during wait for Rihanna

BarringtHigh School senior Peter Chung has been leader BHS-TV which submitted video first-ever White House Student Film Festival.  |

Barrington High School senior Peter Chung has been a leader at BHS-TV, which submitted a video in the first-ever White House Student Film Festival. | Joe Shuman/For Sun-Times Media

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BLOG: Rihanna visits Barrington High School
Barrington students shine during 3-hour wait for Rihanna
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Updated: May 5, 2013 1:54PM

BARRINGTON — While about 2,000 students and community members waited for Rihanna on March 22 in the Barrington High School gym, BHS senior Peter Chung entertained thousands more across the world on a live-streaming broadcast.

Chung was forced into action several times throughout the six-hour production, which was filmed by BHS-TV and shared on the Internet by High School Cube.

The BHS production team began filming at 12:30 p.m., expecting Rihanna’s arrival at 2 p.m. During the hours leading up to Rihanna’s eventual 5:35 p.m. entrance, Chung provided anxious viewers updates about the pop star’s whereabouts.

“It was a little hard to fill the time,” Chung said. “But it was very exciting. I think it’s still very impressive that such a big pop star signed up to do this in the first place.”

But as the time passed, Chung became the entertainer in the spotlight. His Internet audience continued to grow with many of them commenting about the broadcast on social media.

Some students in attendance grew frustrated with the star’s tardiness as well, but BHS-TV teacher Jeff Doles said the delay only drew more attention to the high school and the award-winning video that highlighted students’ various community service activities.

“It took it from a local story to a national story,” said Doles. “On the Twitter feed, people commented from places like Italy and Spain.”

Doles noted that Rihanna also posted the students’ video on her Facebook page, making it accessible to her 68 million friends.

“What at the time seemed like a major headache turned out to be a good thing,” said Doles.

Providing updates every 20 minutes for more than five hours, Chung admitted that the announcements began to be repetitive. But he also tried to make jokes and keep the video as fresh as possible.

“At one point, my nose just started bleeding while I was on camera,” Chung said. “But overall, it was a fun day. It was exciting and in the end it worked itself out.”

Chung said although he read some negative comments on Twitter, most of the feedback was favorable and the experience proved invaluable.

BHS junior Catherine Goetze, who hosted Rihanna on stage, said she also thinks the day was a success. She called it unfortunate that so much attention focused on the delay.

“(Rihanna) kept her promise and still showed up,” Goetze said. “I would say it was a huge success.”

Goetze expressed gratitude for Rihanna’s on-site managers, who gave out more than $2,000 in merchandise and provided the school with Rihanna’s own DJ Reflex to entertain the waiting crowd.

“If there had been no music, who knows what it would have been like,” Goetze said.

Blaming heavy traffic, Rihanna arrived at Barrington High School at about 5:35 p.m. After interacting with students and speaking to the crowd, she was back on the road about 20 minutes later.

“After the event, Rihanna posted some things about how awesome Barrington High School is and that was great,” said Chung.

Many followed Rihanna back to Chicago for her concert at the United Center later that evening.

“Some people went to the concert,” Chung said. “But I didn’t go because I was so tired.”

Editor’s note: Wrapports, the parent company of Sun-Times Media, has an ownership stake in High School Cube.

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