Video ad featuring students and faculty rocking out during pandemic receives praise

Staff Report

LOS OLIVOS — Dunn School in Los Olivos was awarded three gold “Addy” awards and one silver award from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Coastal California branch for its 2020 video, “Dunn School — More Than a Classroom.” The video captured gold awards in the categories of film/video branded content and cinematography, and a silver award for video editing. Dunn also took home the gold Special Judges Award, beating out all competitors including ads from media savvy companies such as Appfolio, CenCal Health and Procore.

“More Than a Classroom” was created and directed by 2007 Dunn alumnus and board of trustees member Justin R. Ching, who is a filmmaker and Forbes 30 Under 30 media award recipient. The video’s aim was to showcase Dunn School’s mission of educating the whole student to their fullest potential, while reassuring prospective students and families facing uncertain times that “while the rest of the world plays catch-up, we’re moving forward.” 

The video provides an entertaining glimpse into what life at Dunn School has been like during the pandemic. It features an original recording of Led Zeppelin’sImmigrant Song” performed and sung by the Dunn School band. Masked and socially distanced teachers, staff and students can be seen rocking out to the song in front of Dunn’s iconic one-room schoolhouse. Scenes from outdoor classrooms depict what school has been like for the Dunn community during this COVID-impacted school year. A particularly relatable scene, which the AAF used in the opening of the awards gala, is an emotional tongue-in-cheek reunion of two masked students returning to campus complete with a pandemic-appropriate elbow tap. 

In a non-pandemic year, the California Coastal AAF Awards gala is hosted in person, however this year’s gala was presented in webinar style. Dunn School was not informed before the online event that it had won. 

Ching reacted, declaring “these awards belong to the entire community of Dunn School. The mere act of making this video was the epitome of Dunn’s enduring mission, true grit, and unflinching togetherness during an unprecedented global crisis. I hope this small school in a farm town can be an example for all the ‘Little Engine That Could’ underdogs out there looking to bounce back after this pandemic. This win proves school is truly more than a classroom.” 

The Dunn School video will be automatically entered into the AFF District 15 competition. “Dunn School — More Than a Classroom” can be viewed at or on the Dunn School Youtube channel. The 2021 AAF California Coastal gala can be viewed on Youtube at 

Dunn School is an independent, private, co-educational boarding and day school for grades 6-12 located in Los Olivos. For more information visit For more information on the American Advertising Federation visit