Do You Know Our History? High School Students Rap About Oakwood
You may have guessed that cemeteries hold hundreds of years of history, but one upcoming senior at Niagara Falls High School only just learned about how much local history was at the Oakwood Cemetery after he and his fellow students created a rap song about the cemetery.
The students at Niagara Falls High School created the rap song about those who are resting underneath the tombstones.
Tyler White was the head editor of the song’s accompanying video, and he was surprised by it’s lyrical content. The song grew on him in a way as he learned more about the history lurking between tombstones at Oakwood Cemetery.
The song was born in a music production class offered at NF High School under teacher Brian Chmaj, who at the end of the last school year created the music video that is currently featured on the Oakwood Cemetery YouTube channel and the business’ website.
Judie Glaser came up with the idea to incorporate the students with the Oakwood Cemetery, as she is intertwined herself in both communities. Glaser works as the district clerk for the Niagara Falls School District and a board member at Oakwood.
Glaser wanted the students to not only learn the history of the city, but also realize that the cemetery is a place to recreate and not just mourn.
Chmaj, the music teacher, thought that the project went better than expected, with original lyrics written by Chmaj and his students, many of whom ended up rapping in the song themselves. One of Chmaj’s favorite parts of the project was watching his students become impressed that those who were resting in Oakwood once walked the same streets that we walk today.
One of the many stories that left the students in awe was the life of Annie Edson Taylor, who, on her 63rd birthday, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was motivated financially to take the plunge but she passed away penniless.
You can watch the video and hear the original rap song below.