Long Beach High School students will share the spotlight with Justin Bieber, Lady Antebellum and Miley Cyrus tonight.
The students, who received a $25,000 donation of school supplies in late February, will be featured in a nationally-televised CBS special called “Real Change — Artists for Education,” which will air at 7 p.m.
The star-studded program, which also includes LMFAO, Quincy Jones, Jason Mraz, Pitbull and “Glee’s” Matthew Morrison, is the work of Liam Murphy, a TV producer and 1996 Long Beach High School graduate.
The child of two educators, Murphy, 35, wanted to create a television show that celebrated teachers and delivered needed supplies to their classrooms. He partnered up with Jamie Rosenberg, the founder of Adopt-A-Classroom, and Office Depot. Both groups have been traveling around the country with Murphy and his film crew, bringing celebrities back to their hometown schools to surprise teachers and students with generous donations.
Speaking to Newsday in February, Murphy said that every celebrity who came on board told him they were inspired to give back by teachers who made a positive impact on their lives.
In addition to interviews and musical performances, viewers will see these visits play out during the one-hour program. They will also watch Murphy’s Feb. 25 homecoming to Long Beach High School, where his team delivered books, a projector and Samsung tablets to Andy Smith’s history classroom.
“The level of engagement in the classes using the tablets has risen significantly,” said Gaurav Passi, principal of Long Beach High School. “The kids are able to get information right at their fingertips, so it’s contributed immensely to their learning and growth.”
The donation came four months after superstorm Sandy destroyed Long Beach High School’s gym and all its first-floor classrooms. Since Murphy’s visit, many other Long Beach teachers have registered at adoptaclassroom.org and have been receiving books and other supplies from donors.
“The donations have really helped to rebuild our school,” Passi said.
On Monday, Passi said there was a noticeable buzz in the school hallways as students awaited their prime-time television debut.
He added, “This has been a really tough year for our kids, so to have our school featured on a nationally-televised network is phenomenal.”