The Barrington High School gym was packed with teens and some adults who waited more than three hours for Rihanna to visit the school on Friday as part of a nationwide video contest.
Scheduled for 2 p.m., Rihanna arrived after 5:30 p.m. However, the wait was much longer for those students who arrived several hours early on their first day of spring break to see the superstar.
Rihanna apologized for being late.
"I wanted to come because I was so impressed and very touched by your video. I wanted to express that in person," Rihanna said.
She said she was most impressed that the students aren't just raising money for their own efforts, but are reaching out to people outside the school.
Rihanna told the teens to enjoy their spring break and then posed for photos with students. Three groups that received special recognition were theRelay for Life, and Brother's Keeper.
Rihanna thanked the students for waiting and told them to enjoy their spring break.
Some teens said they spent seven to eight hours at Barrington High School on their first day of spring break. Many students worried that she wouldn't show up and some even gave up on the waiting.
"It was worth it. It's Rihanna. It's a once in a lifetime oppportunity, this pop star coming to our school," said Grace Hauk.
Ola Piatek, a seventh-grader at Prairie Middle School, definitely felt the wait was worthwhile as she managed to get her phone case signed by Rihanna.
But for others, the long wait and the short appearance wasn't worthwhile.
"We waited for seven hours and she gets up there says a few things and is gone," said eighth-grader Sheridan Bochniak.
Srayva Dasari, a seventh-grader at Prairie Middle School, said what kept her waiting was that she kept hoping Rihanna would arrive.
Station Middle School seventh-grader Capri Biangardi said she was most impressed by the work of Barrington High School students as displayed in the video. The video was shown prior to Rihanna taking the stage.
"It was amazing all the charitable work they do and how much they work," Capri said.
Heather Boon a BHS freshman, said she was most surprised at Rihanna's outfit. Rihanna won a collegiate-looking jacket and red leather skirt.
"Her outfit was really cute, but I thought she'd wear something sparkly."
But, there were plenty of sparkly outfits in the audience.