Virtually United: Bronx Science Math Department Covers ‘We Are The World’

They work to restore a sense of unity during quarantine.


Samama Moontaha

The video holds much value for both the students and teachers who participated. “The Mathematics department coming together to make this collaboration means a lot to me. I was happy to see so many of us participate to put on this show,” said Mr. Liang, Mathematics teacher.

Once upon a time, people across the globe woke up every morning with the intention of getting ready for a day of social interaction and fresh air. Only months ago, our lives changed as stay-at-home orders took away the daily doses of social activity that we relied upon. Especially for the staff and students of Bronx Science, the transition to self-imposed isolation was no small change. With a school community devoted to going far beyond following a strict curriculum-based education, frequent events such as carnivals, musicals, plays, and movie nights are being missed. However, the love for the arts and creativity still lingers in our hearts. The Math Department, for example, has gone out of its way to put on a quarantine-styled performance — an edited version of the teachers “coming together” to sing the classic song, ‘We Are The World.’ Their collaborative efforts have shown that even though this pandemic has separated us at every turn, our passion and love for the community always finds a way to bring us back together.

‘We Are The World’ is a song for charity, original written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie in 1985. The song was written as an American benefit single for African famine relief. The inspiring message brought together some of the most well-known artists in the music industry, appealed to human compassion, and raised money for the crisis in Ethiopia. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bronx Science Math Department, similar to Jackson and Richie’s original intent, decided to work towards communicating a message of solidarity through music. “This is a song of hope and fellowship and the dream that as long as we support each other, we will make the world a better place. Together,” said Ms. Li, Mathematics teacher. It may be thirty-five years since the original release of the song, but the power and influence within the lyrics have an everlasting impact.

Ms. Li coordinated the performance with the intention to remind students that we are all here for each other, even if our interaction must solely rely on virtual means. “At this time more than ever before, it is extremely important to find ways to show unity and togetherness. I thought that seeing many of their mathematics teachers come together to sing their hearts out for our students would show Bronx Science how united we still are, even at a distance,” said Ms. Li.

As inspiring and beautiful as the final product was, the process of getting there was far from easy. “The most surprising part of the whole process was how much time it took. Just all of the takes that it took to get it right, and the adjustment of each other’s keys, were so difficult and time-consuming. And also singing everything on beat was really challenging. Respect to Lionel Richie and the rest of the OG’s. I’ve definitely gained a newfound respect for musical artists,” said Mr. Liang, Mathematics teacher. With harmonizing, overlays, and frequent key changes, singing together from different rooms was no small feat, but the task was conquered with style.

Our mathematics teachers are impressive enough with their academic skills, yet their incredible harmonizing in the song takes students by surprise each time. (Samama Moontaha)

To say the least, the video was very moving. At times like these, it is common for students to feel a sense of loss and disconnection. Teachers of the Mathematics department, you have changed these feelings! You have moved us, inspired us, and comforted us. “Ms. Pedraza mouthing ‘thank you’ in the beginning cured my sadness. The video was so genuine, and it showed that our teachers really care about us. It’s exactly what I needed this week,” said Shahrika Taiyeba ’21. The video served not only as a pick-me-up, but also as a reminder that in the midst of chaos and confusion, it is vital to know that you are never alone. There will always be people who are ready to support you. “This was an amazing idea, and their care for the Bronx science community really comes through. We should look at the Mathematics Department as an example of how to come together in difficult times. They really have been doing the most,” said Julia Sperling ’21.

Even though not all of the Mathematics teachers appear to be singing, the short on-screen presence by other teachers show their genuineness and commitment towards participating in the performance in any style that that they can. (Samama Moontaha)

The best thing to do during this troubling time is to work together and spread love. We may not be able to get together physically, but we are privileged enough to be in an age of advanced technology where being in the same room is not the only option to share memories. “We just want to stay positive during this time and spread the message that we should unite rather than blame and accuse, as so many people have been doing,” said Mr. Liang. Videos like this will last a lifetime, and they surely will remind every one of us of the phenomenal acts of unity and love that we showed during the age of COVID-19.

In its original form, the song ‘We Are The World’ is inspiring, moving, and uplifting. The Mathematics Department took the song a step further by changing some of the lyrics to be more personalized for the current cause. “We are the world,” for example, is recited as “we are your teachers” in the video. (Samama Moontaha)

The Bronx Science faculty is doing a heroic job at checking up on our students’ well-being, and our faculty are making sure that they are as available and supportive as they possibly can be, but these extra measures go beyond all our expectations. On behalf of the entire student body, thank you to all of our Mathematics teachers for spreading love, joy, and kindness during these unprecedented times. Small things have big beginnings. You kickstarted the realization that isolation cannot and will not break apart the love and commitment of the Bronx Science community. Unity finds its way through all struggles and obstacles. Thank you. You truly have reminded us that ‘we are the world.’

To view the video, click HERE.

“This is a song of hope and fellowship and the dream that as long as we support each other, we will make the world a better place. Together,” said Ms. Li, Mathematics teacher.