FREEPORT

The students at Freeport Elementary School often start their classes by singing along to Juicebox Jukebox videos. On a very special day, they sang along with Bradley James Skistimas himself.

Skistimas, the Dallas-based songwriter and musician behind The Juicebox Jukebox, visited the school Friday to have its students star in his next music video.

Freeport Elementary students will star in “The Opposite Song,” which will premiere on thejuiceboxjukebox.com and Juicebox Jukebox’s YouTube channel within the next two weeks.

He became familiar with the students after Cindy Pierson McCarty, Freeport Elementary’s librarian and media specialist, posted a video of her students singing his song “Kindness” on Sept. 19.

“YES! Love this, thank you for sharing! Gonna have to come down there and visit these kids!” Jukebox Juicebox commented on the video.

“I really had been wanting to get him down here,” McCarty said. “We feel like it’s an honor that he came.”

The partnership between Skistimas and Freeport Elementary is perfect because his music focuses on character qualities including kindness, sharing and caring, McCarty said. These are perfect lessons for Freeport Elementary students since it is an early elementary campus with pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade, she said.

“Every time they come into class, we watch a Juicebox video,” McCarty said.

There were some logistics to get out of the way before they could secure Skistimas’ visit and let the kids know, Principal Maria Espinoza said. As soon as the students found out, they were extremely excited, as were their parents, she said.

That was evident by the students’ apparel Friday.

First-grader Emanuel Orta said his mom picked out his outfit, which included a gold necklace to match his gold shoes.

He was happy when he woke up Friday, Emanuel said, and he thought Skistimas was fun and nice.

Xitlalli Rivera, a kindergartner, said she was excited when she woke up.

“It’s The Juicebox Jukebox day,” she said with a smile.

She enjoyed Skistimas singing and playing guitar for them, she said, and had fun in front of the green screen while doing some instructed choreography for the video. Her mom also picked out her outfit, Xitlalli said, which included a sequined bow.

Skistimas said when he saw the video of the kids singing, he loved their enthusiasm and wanted to include them in a video. He came down to Freeport from the Dallas area and said everyone in Freeport was very kind and welcoming.

He’s been an active songwriter for 15 years, but becoming a father of three changed the direction of his music to be fun, positive and educational, he said.

He especially wanted to write music that both kids and adults could enjoy, Skistimas said.

His son’s school starred in one of his music videos recently, and he wanted to try that again with Freeport Elementary, he said. His early music videos featured basic animation, but he hopes to keep involving kids when possible, Skistimas said.

This situation shows how a post can easily reach people far away and spur the positive side of social media, Espinoza said.

“We are just excited that our kids get the chance to be part of his message of positivity,” she said.

Maddy McCarty is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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