It started as a simple movie recommendation by Bak Middle School of the Arts assistant principal Misty Connelly in September. She and her daughter watched the hit Netflix show “To All the Boys I Loved Before,” and Connelly asked some of her students if they, too, had seen it. Seen it? The students informed her that not only had they seen it; the star of the movie Noah Centineo, is a former Bak student.
Flash forward two months, and Noah was back at Bak Middle, where he was a theatre major in 2008, speaking to an auditorium filled with screaming students. Now, Noah’s photo of that visit has garnered nearly 2 million likes on Instagram.
Centieno was at Bak Middle School of the Arts for two years before heading to Hollywood to chase his dreams of being a star. Connelly says that seeing her students light up at the mention of the show convinced her that she needed to start a campaign to get the star back where he started to inspire other students to see the success they could achieve.
Students began a two-month-long letter-writing contest inspired by the love letters in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to convince the star to return. “Teachers were given a lesson plan using the benchmarks for persuasive writing to use in class if they chose to do so,” Connelly said.
The students also came up with a social media campaign creating the hashtag #BringNoahBak to reach out to the star, who is also in the series “The Fosters”, “Sierra Burgess is a Loser” and appeared in “Austin and Ally” on the Disney Channel. Noah also just finished filming of a reboot of “Charlie’s Angels”.
The visit was met with enthusiastic response, and 12 of the students won tickets to attend the Bak Middle School of the Arts Foundation event to honor the star and raise money for the school’s programs. “[Noah] was very gracious and posed for a photo with each of them,” Connelly said.
What Connelly didn’t expect is the attention the school would get on social media. “The campaign has received international attention and reminds all of our students that dreams do come true,” she says.