When Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana’s Secretary of Education, was visiting Burris Laboratory School in May, she was impressed with the students’ passion for videography and their hype videos.
She thought maybe they would like a Summer project pursuing this passion.
After meeting with emerging media and social studies teacher Rob Jones, plans took off as he and the students enthusiastically agreed to make a “Welcome Back” video that could be shared with students and educators across the state.
“Obviously, we weren’t going to pass up an opportunity like that,” Mr. Jones said.
Dr. Jenner indicated that she wanted every type of school in Indiana represented, but beyond that requirement, the students were set free to create. They brainstormed and came up with a concept that would showcase the different characteristics of over 2,200 schools in the state.
To do this successfully, Mr. Jones and nine students spent three full days driving around the state. From the vibrant cities to the serene countryside, the students filmed playgrounds, classrooms, laboratories, basketball courts, and more.
“We ended up driving over 1,500 miles—500 miles each day—and spent about 12 hours per day filming,” Mr. Jones stated. “Our goal was to celebrate each school that we could. Indiana is special and has something for everyone.”
The production team for the video included seniors Jesse Lee, Nick McDonald, Lawson Sanchez, and Sam Thygerson; junior Ethan Barndollar, Liam Ferguson, and Charley Isaacs, who also provided the narration; and sophomore Oliver Moring.
Senior Michael Belezek served as the executive producer of the video and spent most of his Summer on the project, working long hours and on weekends to ensure it was completed. The end product was a video that lasted one minute and 12 seconds. Coincidentally, it seems to represent the 1.12 million students who attend Indiana schools from elementary to high school. The video was posted online and sent out publicly through the Indiana Department of Education.
“These kids came in, worked so hard, and gave it their all,” Mr. Jones said.
“For students to take their Summer, travel all over the state, and produce this video (all elements–visuals and narration!) is incredible,” Dr. Jenner wrote in a July 28 Indiana Department of Education newsletter. “Thank you to the students at Burris Laboratory School for making this video for all of us.”
Already with a built-in Ball State connection—Burris is operated as a laboratory school for the University after being founded in 1929 by Teachers College—a majority of the students who worked on the video also attended Sports Link Summer Camp in late June.