Today we heard Superintendent Dr. Brian Biermann, who briefed us on the recent lockdown of the middle and high schools and the car accident that impacted three of our elementary school students. Louisburg High School sophomore Carson Tappan took over after that to discuss his film documentary Where the Buffaloed Roam: An Ode to the Kansas Budget.
 
Both Louisburg High School and Louisburg Middle School have been on lock down in recent weeks after ammunition was found in the hallway. As Dr. Biermann stated, the ammunition is much less concerning than what has been found in lockers, backpacks and on students: knives, tobacco, alcohol, prescription medication and other substances. Student and staff safety is the district's top priority, so measures are being taken to strengthen security.
 
Brian visited two students at Children's Mercy this week. Mya Diacono, the 4th grader who was involved in a serious crash on 68 highway on Tuesday after school and Jimmy Dolan, the junior who is recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident on January 12. Mya will remain in drug-induced coma for 72 hours. Jimmy will move to a rehab facility on March 20 and was released for his first off-campus excursion since the accident. Both sustained brain injuries. Jimmy beat his 20% chance of survival, and we are praying Mya will do the same.
 
Louisburg High School sophomore Carson Tappan (yeah...he admits that he's the principals' son) is an independent film maker. He got his first flip camcorder when he was 11 years old and has been making short films with his sister, neighbors, friends, friends-of-friends, since. They have mostly been narratives, until now.
 
Carson just completed his first nonfiction piece and he was a little apprehensive, at first, "It's really bad when you lie in a documentary," Tappan said, "or so I've been told." That dry sense of humor can be detected in the tone of his questions in his documentary entitled, Where the Buffaloed Roam: An Ode to the Kansas Budget.
 
One of the first concerns people have is which side of the political tightrope Carson is tugging and he's quick to clear up any misconceptions. "I'm not taking a stand for a political view. I'm taking a stand for prioritizing."
 
He contacted several people and interviewed half a dozen of them to balance the views and present a well-researched and well-rounded view of the current budget issues facing Kansas schools. The only person who refused an interview was Governor Brownback - or the people who work for him. The project was no weekender, for certain. Carson ended up with 4 gigabytes of footage, which is equivalent to about 200 iPhones worth of data.
 
Social media is Carson's tool of choice and Facebook seems to be the best avenue for him, at present. His one-minute, 17-second trailer can be found on YouTube and has 8,575 views, to date. It's no surprise, then that when he partnered with Kansas Families for Education and the organization paid to rent out the B&B 16 Theater on 135th Street that the 60 seats they were originally guaranteed sold out in 2 days. They re-grouped and decided they'd need to double that, and double it, they did. All but the front 20-25 rows of seats were filled for his 51 minute film.
 
"If I went back, I would change just about everything," Carson said. "But it's actually the one film I have made that I'm proud to show." And that's good because there is a demand for more shows. It has now been shown once in Overland Park, three times in Topeka and is on the schedule for the ever-popular Louisburg Middle School (brought to you by the Louisburg Library) on Thursday, March 5, 2015 @ 6:30pm. He is also looking at Liberty Hall in Lawrence.
 
While it's clear that Carson did all of the filming, interviewing, directing and editing, he is quick to champion his friends who have helped him along the way. Of course, he credits Damon for the concept, design and success. (did I mention his sense of humor?) Andrew Benne designed his poster, Mason Wilde helped get it burned to a Blu-Ray disc and Tanner Myers has offered hours of moral support. His gifted teacher Susan Moore is the most passionate educator he knows, his speech teacher Weilert is amazing and his parents continue to be "very supportive."
 
So, what conclusions has this young activist drawn during this experience? He says those are pretty much wrapped in the last two minutes of the Ode - "if we're going to do it, we have to do it in a smart and fair way that is economically sound," Carson said.
 
He is currently waiting to hear back from KCPT and Jon Stewart.
 
In Other News:
  • The board meeting was held on February 25th
    • Our Vocational Chair McRaymond is working on Focus on the Future
    • The golf committee is meeting and figuring out the logistics in bringing the end-of-the-day meal back to the Rotary Golf Tournament
    • Craig & Michelle will host a Rotary Strictly Social event this spring
    • E-Recycling is Saturday, April 4 in the Louisburg Middle School parking lot
  • Levi Davis is the new LHRC administrator and is hoping to transfer his membership from the Overbrook Rotary Club
  • Pam Holmes visited today as the administrator for hte Overland Park South Rotary Club