Nicholas County superintendent's snow day song goes viral
By Samuel Speciale, Education Reporter, WV Gazette-Mail
It's not uncommon for school administrators like Nicholas County Superintendent Keith Butcher to get creative when announcing snow days. The attention that comes after, however, can be unexpected.
Butcher, who in recent days became an Internet sensation for his snow day rendition of Adele's pop hit “Hello,” is dealing with newfound celebrity, though he said he hasn't done anything special.
“I've been doing it for four years,” he said, adding that school systems around the country also use songs to announce snow days. “Why this one went viral — I don't have a clue.”
Nicholas County school officials canceled school Thursday and Friday, and when Butcher knew he'd have to call another snow day for Monday, he did so to the tune of the Beatles' “Let It Be.”
The 60-second phone call greeted parents and employees with soft piano playing and Butcher's soothing baritone voice as he contemplates what to do when winter weather comes and students are left wondering if they'll get a snow day.
“Let it be,” he sings. “Let it be.”
At the end of the message, as the piano fades, Butcher concludes with a matter-of-fact: “Due to weather conditions, schools in Nicholas County will be closed.”
Seeing as automated notices sent from a school messaging system are boring, often impersonal, Butcher finds announcing snow days by singing parodies of popular songs to be more effective.
“Winter can be long with snow days one after the other,” Butcher said, adding that subsequent school cancellations can fatigue students, parents and teachers.
While singing announcements is fun for Butcher, students, parents and employees, it also does a good job of communicating important messages.
“They know if there is music when they pick up the phone, there's going to be a closure,” he said, adding that two-hour delays and other special announcements are delivered normally.
Butcher started singing snow day announcements when he was superintendent of Fayette County. He has a music degree from Concord University.
Some of his biggest hits with students have been takes on Michael Jackson hits and the popular song “Let It Go,” from the movie “Frozen.”
“I've heard a lot of kids get excited when phone calls come in,” Butcher said.
Butcher said he'll continue singing snow day announcements as long as parents and employees are receptive and students continue sending in parody ideas.