This classroom video captures Anchorage students reacting perfectly to the earthquake

A camera at the back of Matthew Bennice’s classroom at Mears Middle School in South Anchorage was supposed to capture his lesson Friday morning. Instead, it captured an earthquake.

What it revealed? Bennice’s class is a well-oiled machine.

In the video, which has been been viewed more than 12,000 times on YouTube, the students immediately take refuge under tables once the shaking begins. As the earthquake rises to a crescendo, ceiling panels start falling, the SmartBoard nearly detaches from the wall and the lights briefly go out. Bennice instructs the students to cover their mouths to avoid inhaling dust.

After the initial shaking stops, students remain under their desks and await announcements.

“All I can say is, holy crap,” one student says.

Another can be heard asking, “Will they cancel school today?”

Bennice replies, “That’s probably not the first thing we need to be worried about right now.”


The Anchorage School District released students early Friday and canceled classes for the following week. Students are expected to begin returning to school on Monday, Dec. 10.

The district has coded Mears Middle School “yellow,” meaning it is damaged enough that staff are not able to enter yet, but repairs and cleaning are underway.

Schools in the Anchorage School District conduct duck-cover-hold drills twice a year.

Madeline McGee

Madeline McGee is a general assignment reporter for the Daily News.