GUILFORD COUNTY — A video showing the principal of a high school in High Point serenading its graduates has gone viral on social media.
T. Wingate Andrews Principal Marcus Gause wowed the class of 2021 and families gathered at the Greensboro Coliseum during Sunday’s commencement with a rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” first recorded by Dolly Parton and later by Whitney Houston, from the stage as the red-clad graduates cheered wildly.
Gause told The High Point Enterprise that it was the first time he sang the tune publicly. He has sung regularly at school events over the years.
“I’ve sung something just about at every graduation since I’ve been here,” said Gause, who has served as Andrews principal for four years and with Guilford County Schools for seven years.
No tune he’s sung has ever caught the digital world’s attention and imagination like “I Will Always Love You.” He said the song was suggested by class of 2021 valedictorian Triniti Goss.
“She was in here practicing her graduation speech, and I asked her if she wanted to choose what song I sang,” Gause said. “I listened to the lyrics, and the lyrics were exactly what we wanted to portray.”
Gause said he ends his announcements during each school day with the message that if no one has told you today that they love you, we are telling you that today.
“Somebody loves you, and that somebody is me,” he said.
That message is captured by the song, and Gause thinks the hardship of the pandemic meant his rendition of “I Will Always Love You” touched people who saw the video online.
“It was so fitting for this graduating class, because they had lost so much during COVID,” he said. “Something as simple as this song can really make someone’s day.”
Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff Nora Carr said the video has received notice on media outlets such as the “Today” show, National Public Radio, Fox News and “ABC World News Tonight.” The video even got an online thumbs-up from rap superstar and actor Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Carr said.
Gause said that he’s heard from people as far away as California, where a Vietnam War veteran told Gause he cried when he heard the song.
“That really touched me,” he said.
Outside of middle and high school, Gause has had little voice training. He learned to sing through his family and church.
Gause said he cherishes the attention this has gained for his school, his city and the community at large.
“And I’ve been excited for the kids,” he said. “And the kids have been loving every bit of it.”
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