It’s not just Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper who make showstopping performances to the tune “Shallow.”
A North Dakota high school senior wowed not only those attending her class’ graduation ceremony but a much wider audience with her original lyrics, sung to the breakout song from “A Star Is Born.”
Sydney Helgeson belted out her “speech” for her 270-person Class of 2019 graduation from Bismarck High School in Bismarck, North Dakota, at the end of May.
“Tell me something class / Are you happy that today’s the last / Or do you need more / Are you ready to go out that door,” Helgeson sings in a confident voice captured on video. “It’s time to go our own way / No time for sorrow today / Go where your dreams go / We’re not far from tomorrow now.”
“Graduation speeches are a tradition, but when words fail, music speaks,” Helgeson said, introducing her song.
She hadn’t originally wanted to audition to be a featured speaker at her graduation. But she said her mother encouraged her and they came up with the idea of her singing rather than talking.
“Of course, you can’t get me to give a speech, but I’ll sing in front of these people!” Helgeson told local TV station KFYR-TV.
Helgeson said writing the alternate version of “Shallow,” which she called “Tomorrow,” came together quickly. She was inspired by a parody of “Shallow” done by Alicia Keys and James Corden.
“When writing the lyrics, I thought about all the things that made me proud to be a Demon,” Helgeson told Good Morning America, evoking her high school mascot. “Things like winning the state football championship and marble staircases in our halls. I tried to reminisce on all the moments that our class has shared together. The good, the bad, the funny — all the memories.”
She was excited when her school picked her to present at the graduation ceremony, non-traditional format and all. It wasn’t meant to create such a fuss, though, she told Inside Edition.
Thanks to resharing videos of her song, Helgeson’s “speech” was a hit far beyond the day-of crowd. Her own posting of the song had close to 38,000 views as of June 17 and has been covered widely in local and national media. Her sister sent the video to “Good Morning America.”
“Fabulous display of confidence, creativity, and a special way to share your gift of music,” one commenter said on one of Helgeson’s own Facebooks post about the video.
Her own school district is pretty proud of her too, as seen by the tweet below from @BismarkSchools.
BHS senior Sydney Helgeson is a Youtube sensation with the words she made up for her high school graduation speech to the melody of the popular song Shallow. She’s been featured on local and national TV networks. Check it out! https://t.co/AhlUydqnhk pic.twitter.com/lvPLKkw26b
— Bismarck Schools (@BismarckSchools) June 4, 2019
Helgeson is not only a talented singer — she’s done concert choir, jazz choir, honors choirs and school performances — but has also excelled in many other areas. She is an honors student and one of her class’ 47 valedictorians. She’s been active in service clubs and community service along with being the co-captain of the high school tennis team. Helgeson was also the 2017 Miss North Dakota Outstanding Teen and works with people who have disabilities.
She’s headed to the University of Alabama in the fall and plans to major in business with a minor in music. She said she’d love to be the CEO of a nonprofit like Special Olympics some day.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see Helgeson turn up at Miss America in the next few years. We definitely think a star has been born!