‘Slow Ride’

By Jessica L. Tonn — April 12, 2005 1 min read

Daniel C. Dorman, a senior at Bonita Vista High School in Chula Vista, Calif., could not contain his excitement when he heard the 1975 rock song “Slow Ride” by Foghat playing over his school’s public-address system on March 18.

Daniel Dorman, right, hugs fellow Foghat fan Matt Smith as 'Slow Ride' plays instead of the bell.

The 45-second event, which took place during the passing period before lunch, marked the culmination of Mr. Dorman’s 3½-month campaign to replace the school’s bells with the classic-rock staple.

“I was jumping up and down,” the 17-year-old said in an interview last week. “My friends thought I was going to pass out. I worked so hard for this!”

In December, Mr. Dorman launched his initiative, “Proposition Slow Ride,” after the bells he described as “loud and high-pitched” became too much for him to bear. “ ‘Slow Ride,’ was the perfect song” to serve as a substitute, he said.

A petition was quickly drawn up, and with the help of several friends, Mr. Dorman collected more than 300 signatures. He got in touch with the band itself by e-mail, and it immediately sent him complimentary posters, CDs, T-shirts, concert tickets, and backstage passes to help with his cause.

After drafting a written proposal, Mr. Dorman submitted his idea to the school’s administration.

Ramón Leyba, the principal of the 2,500-student school, was impressed with his student’s efforts, but he worried that the PA system would not be able to accommodate Mr. Dorman’s request. He promised to get back to Mr. Dorman after discussing the idea with the school’s technicians.

Several weeks passed without word from Mr. Leyba, so the persistent high schooler began delivering daily messages to him, warning of an impending hunger strike if the song wasn’t played.

On March 4, Mr. Leyba relented, and agreed to play the song “in deference to [Mr. Dorman’s] imagination and perseverance … for one passing period, at a time of least disruption,” he wrote in a memo to the school staff.

The memo ended: “This is an exception! I don’t plan on doing this again.”