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“Dear Harvard” please let me in, Tacoma student sings in catchy YouTube video that’s gone viral

Post by Kris Sherman / The News Tribune on April 14, 2011 at 11:59 am with 6 Comments »
April 15, 2011 8:58 am
Photo courtesy Grace Oberhofer

Tacoma School of the Arts senior Grace Oberhofer really, really, really wants into Harvard.

Getting in, she says, “means the world to me,” and she promises she’ll never pee on John Harvard’s statue.

But she’s on a wait list. And she can’t wait to make her case – in a very public way.

So she wrote a catchy tune with her plea and posted it on YouTube. It’s gone viral, and she’s received television and media coverage across the nation.

Her lyrics include this:

“H-A-R-V – A – R – D  C o l l e g e , s o  s c h o l a r l y
“H – A – R – V – A – R – D   b e  m y   u n i v e r s e . . . – i t y
“H a r v a r d   y o u  m e a n   t h e   w o r l d  t o  m e
“O n  J o h n  H a r v a r d ‘ s   s t a t u e  I ‘ d  n e v e r   p e e
“H a r v a r d   I  u t t e r   m y  p r i m a l  s c r e a m
“L e t  m e  i n t o  y o u r   c o m m u n i t y ”

Both of the passions exhibited in the video – Harvard and performing – are in her blood.

Her dad, George, and one of her brothers, Geoff, are Harvard grads. Her other brother, Bradley, has a band called Oberhofer.

And as to performing, well, she literally began her stage career before she was born.

Her mother, Jill Goodman, sang with Tacoma Opera for several years, Grace Oberhofer said.

“She actually performed ‘Carmen’ while she was pregnant with me, so I was in my first opera before I was born.”

The 3.99 senior (she got one A-minus during her high school career) student wants to go to Harvard not only for the family ties. It’s got a world-class humanities program, she noted.

Oberhofer hasn’t decided what her major will be – or even her ultimate career – though she’s leaning toward performing arts, she said. Even so, English and social studies and international relations hold great interest for her.

“I’m really interested in the humanities, which is why I was drawn to Harvard,” she explained.

The university notified her a couple of weeks ago that she was on a waiting list. A possible, not a definite.

She did, however, receive acceptance letters from six of 12 schools to which she applied: Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.; Duke University in Durham, N.C., Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio; Tufts University in Medford, Mass.; Tulane University in New Orleans; and Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y.

They’re all great schools, she said, but her heart seemingly belongs to Harvard.

She made the video wearing a pair of glasses she got on a trip to China with SOTA, and she created an “”over the top” character for it because she thought it was fun, she said.

She posted it Saturday night.

She thanks people in advance for watching and adds, “…for those who have gone through the stressful college process, I hope this provides some comic relief.”

One YouTube commenter compared her to a female Waldo from the “Where’s Waldo?” series.

Her mom said that was OK, Grace was going for a bit of “nerdy.”

Her voice is great, and strong, and her lyrics are witty.

Since she posted it around midnight Saturday, it’s been viewed by friends, picked up and linked on many websites and embedded in blogs like this one. She’s been interviewed by KOMO-TV and radio, KIRO radio, U.S. News & World Report, a blogger for the Harvard Crimson and other media.

Google her name and YouTube and you’ll see hits about her on the Huffington Post, USAToday and other media outlets, plus plenty of individual blogs.

“I had no idea that this would happen,” she said of the video views. “I sent it to my friends and said to share it because I was hopping to get 1,000 hits I thought that was a really big number…and today I found out that i have gotten over 27,000 hits.”

“I’ve been interviewed by a lot of people,” she added in an interview with The News Tribune this afternoon. … Last night, I got extra nervous because I got interviewed via Skype by Fox 25 in Boston.”

So thousands of viewers have seen her on television as well as on  the internet.

Some in the blogosphere call it a sour grapes bid for attention, others say it’s genius and are rooting for her to get in.

Will her YouTube sensation video help or hinder her chances?

“I have no idea,” she said.

Then she added: “I am planning to send in the video I made on YouTube along with a more serious letter about why I’m interested in the school.

“I wanted to entertain people who have been in a similar situation, and I wanted to get rid of some of the stress in a creative way.

“My opinion still stands,” about wanting to walk proud through Harvard Yard and across the Cambridge campus for classes, she said. “And I don’t think I have anything to lose.”

We called Harvard’s news office this afternoon for comment on her video – and whether it might help or hurt her chances – but no one got back to us.

Oberhofer’s mom is extremely proud of her daughter and thinks the YouTube video is a true picture of the real Grace.

“I’ve always thought Grace had an extraordinary voice, and since she’s been at SOTA, she’s developed wonderful composition skills,” Goodman said.

“I really feel good that she’s confident enough to put herself out there this way.”

The combination of her talent in writing lyrics and music, her singing ability and her sense of humor are “all rolled up into one package” in the video, Goodman said.

‘This is who Grace is.”

Her daughter, she added, is gratified that “so many Harvard kids have reached out to her through this and told her they love what she did.”

Here are the lyrics:

In veritas I must admit that Harvard’s grand
Advancements every day let’s give her a hand
We will laud the spirit and the school
That intimidates the average fool
Now Undergrad Admissions Office hear me out
I want an education to make me shout
World class professors and lecturers
Under whom I want to learn
Harvard you mean the world to me
Already part of my family tree
Harvard I utter my primal scream
Except without the nudity
The musical for freshmen calls me every night
I think of compositions to make sparks ignite
And while those accepted might have some skill
As Tom Lehrer says, I have the will
Harvard you mean the world to me
For your Russian bells, I’d write atonally
Harvard I utter my primal scream
But not inside the libraries
H-A-R-V-A-R-D college, so scholarly
Harvard you mean the world to me
On John Harvard’s statue I’d never pee
Harvard I utter my primal scream
Let me into your community
Harvard please admit

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. Alison7613 says:

    This is adorable! I hope she gets in!

  2. It’s very clever, good for her but ouch, my ears hurt. Hope she gets in.

  3. Clever lyrics, perfect pitch (my ears didn’t hurt annadee, not sure what you are hearing, maybe turn down your speakers). Ms. Oberhofer, Harvard would be lucky to have you and fools if they don’t extend you an invitation to enroll.

  4. shopgirl6159 says:

    I LOVE your song it’s fun, original and you have a l voice……

  5. shopgirl6159 says:

    I LOVE your song, it’s fun, original, quirky and you have a BEAUTIFUL voice…..what an awesome idea!!!!! I hope you get into Harvard….they would be lucky to have you!!!!! Good Luck!

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