Barrington students shine during 3-hour wait for Rihanna
Rihanna made her pop star entrance at Barrington High School at 5:35 p.m. on Friday, more than five hours after many students arrived. Despite the wait, students offered glowing reactions after the celebrity appearance. | Photos courtesy Matt Weidner
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Updated: May 7, 2013 11:20PM
BARRINGTON — Hundreds of Barrington High School students waited more than five hours Friday — on their first day of Spring Break — for the moment pop star Rihanna walked into their high school gym.
“It was a really long wait, but Rihanna is so inspirational,” said Barrington freshman Batul Yawer.
Scheduled for 2 p.m., Rihanna’s presence lit up the school with her eventual 5:35 p.m. special appearance. The frustrations of a long wait seemed to be forgotten when Rihanna hugged students and posed for cell phone pictures.
“It’s cool to have such a huge star right here,” said freshman Jamie Brown.
Students in Barrington’s BHS-TV class earned the visit by winning Rihanna’s “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” video contest. Their five-minute, student-produced video captured the Barrington spirit while highlighting the school’s recent volunteer and community service efforts.
Rihanna told students she admires their passion and volunteerism.
“I think you guys really come together as one and help each other out in your community,” she said on the school stage.
The singer then recognized students in each charitable organization by inviting them on stage.
“I absolutely loved it,” said senior Zach Rowe. “The fact that I was represented as part of Brother’s Keeper was a great honor. Hugging her on stage was one of the proudest moments of my life. I’m still shaking from it.”
The award-winning video was screened prior to Rihanna’s appearance.
“I think it’s great because of all the things Barrington has done for the community,” said senior Sylvia Limonez, who also represented Brother’s Keeper, an organization that advocates for Native American communities in the Dakota’s.
While 2,500 students and community members were scheduled to attend, some gave up prior to Rihanna’s entrance.
Four hours after doors opened, seniors Lexi Thodos and Nicole Tinkoff decided they had enough. They left to get ready for a Spring Break trip to Mexico.
“We would have waited, but we can’t reschedule,” Thodos said.
Those who stuck it out, stayed busy with pop music and a dance contest hosted by DJ Reflex. Students also won Rihanna concert tickets, signed CDs and bracelets.
“Just her being here is cool,” said middle school student Ariana Squires. “The high school does a lot of cool things, but this is one of the most extreme.”
About 20 minutes after she walked in, Rihanna was back on the road, heading to Chicago for her Friday night concert at the United Center.
“Just the fact that she came here and thanked us was a huge deal,” said freshman Nisha Ali.