LAKE MARY, Fla. - The principal of Lake Mary High School danced alongside the school's step team Friday and the video is flooding social media.
Dr. Mickey Reynolds, dressed in the same red and black uniforms each member of Unity Revolution STEP team was wearing, joined the team just more than a minute into their performance during a pep rally in the school's gym.
Step team coach Kelly Lupis told News 6 that she's been overwhelmed by the response to the performance.
“I didn’t think that it would be that big of a deal when we thought of putting this together and that’s the best part of it," Lupis said. "With so many negative things going on around us, people are seeing it and and all the comments have been so positive and inspiring."
Reynolds said she had no idea what kind of response the performance would get, but she was prepared for students and faculty to laugh and cheer.
“When you’re a principal and you do something like that, we recognize and understand we're going to be laughed at, and we’re OK with that," Reynolds said.
But what she wasn't prepared for, she said, was the response she's actually gotten.
Reynolds said that parents and students were already coming up to her about the video at Friday's football game, which was just a few hours after the performance.
Lupis and Reynolds said they've even seen comments where one principal is challenging another principal to do something similar with students.
Reynolds said that wasn't what she was initially trying to do, but that if it inspires other principals to work harder to connect with their students, she's done more than she could ever ask for.
Reynolds clearly put some practice into the dance, as she nailed almost every move, making the high school crowd go wild with her nearly two-minute performance, but not as much it seemed.
Lupis said Reynolds came to practice maybe three times, but was putting in extra work by practicing at home.
"She was actually a really fast learner," Lupis said. "She used to be a dancer and so when she approached us and said she wanted to step with us, I was like, 'Are you sure you want to step?'"
She said the performance was Reynolds' idea, and it came about after the first pep rally. Lupis said Reynolds loved the step team's first performance this year and asked to be a part of one.
Lupis said she gave Reynolds the dates and she showed up, making it a fun experience for herself and the team.
"I was joking with them, saying I hope I can make it through without them having to pick me up off the floor," Reynolds said.
It was obvious the students loved the performance by their cheering in the video, but Lupis said it was about more than that.
Lupis said each member of the team comes from a different background and home life, and that the team often jokes about being the school's "urban underdogs" when compared to the other athletic teams, but it didn't feel that way Friday.
"It's amazing to see a principal stand beside the kids and say, 'You can do whatever you put your mind to.' And now they feel like they're supported," Lupis said.
She said it was a fun and unique way for Reynolds, who just started at LMHS at the beginning of the school year, to connect with students and show her support to every group on campus.
Lupis said the previous principal at the school was loved by everyone and that could have made it hard for students to transition into the school year with a new one -- but it didn't.
"She probably came in thinking she had big shoes to fill and this was a great way to connect with the kids," Lupis said. "If they had any doubts before, they definitely won't now."
But Reynolds, who has coached two step teams in the past, said both the step team and Lake Mary High School hold a special place in her heart, as her father was the first principal at the school when it opened in 1981.
And passion for offering support to their students must run in their genes.
"He planned the mascot and everything," Reynolds said about her father. "He even wrestled a bear to raise money while he was principal."
Reynolds also attended and graduated from the school, which is another reason she's passionate about giving back to it.
“We have so many things in the world that tear us apart and it’s my job to bring us together. And to support a team that’s called and shows unity, and have people find value in their message, means so much," Reynolds said.
But she said she couldn't have done it without her hardworking students or Lupis, who invests and believes in them.
"Students are, first of all, the hope for our future and they’re willing to come together from all walks of life and applaud each other and put aside their differences. And the adults need to get on board," she said. "The coach is a real inspiration for the kids and I wouldn’t have been able to connect in that way if she weren’t here. It takes people at different levels to have that."
The video, which was uploaded to Facebook Friday night, had already been viewed 766,000 times by Sunday morning and shared by almost 12,000 users.
Watch the full performance below.
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