Students lined up early Friday to be first in the door for Rihanna’s appearance at Barrington High School, which was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. They waited. And they waited. And they were forced to wait some more. Until Rihanna finally walked through the gymnasium door just after 5:30, over three hours late.
Before her arrival, dozens of students and parents left the school frustrated, unable or unwilling to stick around. But those who did were rewarded and were quick to forgive Rihanna’s tardiness.
It was the first day of spring break for Barrington 220 students so they all made a special trip on what would otherwise have been a day away from school. The district’s Chief Communications Officer, Jeff Arnett, says Rihanna’s staff was apologetic and blamed her lateness on bad traffic. “After she was 90 minutes late then two hours behind schedule, there was a time we wondered if the event would actually happen.”
“But because her staff members were also waiting with us, we felt she was ultimately going to get there.” Students also kept their hopes up and were all-cheers when they realized the wait was worth it.
Rihanna only spent about 20 minutes with the students before heading back to the city for her scheduled Diamonds World Tour concert at the United Center in Chicago.
When she took the stage at about 5:35, Rihanna was quick to acknowledge the students who produced the video that won her “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” contest.
Rihanna chose the video, highlighting student contributions to local charities, as the contest winner with her visit to Barrington as the reward. During her visit, she told the students that she was “impressed” with their work raising over a million dollars for these causes.
She posed for photos with students involved with three of the charities highlighted in the video, including the student team that helps organize Barrington’s Relay for Life.
Rihanna took student moderator, Catherine Goetze’s cell phone and snapped a “selfie”, a photo of the two of them together, on stage.
Catherine says, “I met Rihanna and that was awesome and she was so nice. Really, really nice. I had a blast and I can’t believe it passed by so quickly.”
And she took time to autograph posters for two students who were up at the crack of dawn to fully take part in Rihanna’s visit. During a raffle while students waited Friday afternoon, BHS seniors, Nicole Zero and Athena Demeros, were rewarded by winning four tickets to see Rihanna in concert at The United Center on Friday night.
They were overcome with excitement, having gone all-out for Rihanna’s visit. “We had a sleepover last night, we made Rihanna Diamond t-shirts and got up at 5 a.m. We went to the Sweetspot candy shop and were interviewed by the radio station early this morning and we’ve been here since 8 a.m. in the freezing cold. We’ve been waiting this whole time, we’re so excited and it was totally worth it!”
BHS Senior and student photographer, Matt Weidner, was allowed up close to capture images of Rihanna during her brief visit. To see more of his work, visit his photography website at WeidscreenPhoto.com. And to find out about BHS-TV’s latest video projects, CLICK HERE to follow them on Facebook or visit their website at 238TV.com.
Here’s one more look at the winning BHS-TV video and the reason why Rihanna chose Barrington.