Marlborough was shaken up in a big way this summer, thanks to the surprise presence of Shaquille O’Neal during summer school.
The ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” asked Marlborough to use the facilities to shoot a segment with two underprivileged young women from Baltimore, Maryland. In the episode, the team renovated a Baltimore building that housed the Boys Hope Girls Hope organization, which provides a safe environment for at-risk children.
Faculty and students took part in the the half-day shoot and got to meet the NBA star himself. Everyone enjoyed the huge presence on campus.
“You can’t appreciate how tall he is until you meet him in person,” said Nick Hernandez, Director of Finance and Operations.
The sentiment was echoed throughout the faculty.
“He was warm and friendly to everyone,” said Olivia Haas, Associate Director of Communications. “Very funny. He’s playful and kind of a big kid. That really struck me about him.”
Hernandez also said that the shoot barely happened, due to the school’s liability and complicated logistics. Traditionally, the school facilities are to be used strictly for school purposes, due to Marlborough’s conditions of use policy.
However, Hernandez said he decided this opportunity would be an educational benefit for the school. After hearing the story of the girls from Baltimore, he felt that the shoot would bring positive publicity.
The crew began set-up for the shoot directly after summer school ended, and worked around the clock, filming in Caswell Hall, the
enter (ARC), and the ceramics classroom in Seaver Gallery.
“There is so much going on with the crew placing light and sound” said Andrea Rosas, Assistant Director of Communications. “Everything is so procedural. The behind-the-scenes aspect of film is more intense than you’d think.”
Overall the shoot was a success, even with the long hours of production.
“We were really quite pleased with how well it turned out,” Hernandez said, “There was no impact on the campus, and it was really great having a local celebrity featured at our school. Overall it was a really great experience.”