The theme for their music video was simple: Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out. I want to see you be brave.

Students from OCDE’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at University High and Venado Middle School in Irvine used Sara Bareilles’ hit song “Brave” to create their own music video with the goal of inspiring bravery among students with hearing disabilities.

Their six-minute video has Bareilles’ song playing in the background while students follow the lyrics using sign language. Students also act out scenes that highlight bravery to build self-confidence, combat bullying and encourage stronger empathy of those with hearing disabilities.

“The goal of the video was the empowerment of other deaf students to take chances and step out of their comfort zones,” said teacher Chris Gonzales, who helped the students work on the video. “It’s also about getting the message out that sign language is a very beautiful language and something to be proud of.”

Stacy Lawrence, a deaf filmmaker who’s worked with students at other deaf and hard of hearing schools to produce similar videos, oversaw the project. It involved a core group of 20 students who worked to shoot and edit the video over two months. The video was shot entirely on the University High campus, with more than 100 students from University and Venado appearing in the different scenes.

The idea for the video came after Lawrence met at a conference last year David Longo, the principal of University High’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. Lawrence told Longo about her work with students, and Longo invited her to team up with his students to create the video project.

The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at University and Vendado enrolls more than 135 students from across Orange County.