Students win $3,000 for video contest

Senior Joey Simpson and sophomore John Landry, both KE videographers won a $3000 prize for their submission to  a national video competition for LaSallian schools this past week. This summer, senior high English teacher Mr. Tom Backen and campus minister Mrs. Becca Meagher were informed of an upcoming video contest held by the Christian Brothers of the Midwest. The theme of the contest was expressing how BSM—the students, faculty, and staff—maintain the Lasallian tradition of spirituality amidst secularization. With submissions from Lasallian schools across the country, BSM came away with the first place prize of $3,000.

The details of the contest were known well before the November 1 due date, but the work needed for submission did not start until days before it was due. “Originally, the project was something we were very interested in, but we got caught up in all that a new school year brings, and kind of forgot about [the project]. We met a few times and figured it was something we still wanted to do, but we still needed the students,” Backen said.

A requirement of the submission was that it must be completely student-made, so Backen and Meagher turned to some proven videographers: senior Joey Simpson and junior John Landry. “Mr. Backen and Mrs. Meagher came to John and I and asked if we’d be up for it. We accepted, and I knew that if we put our best foot forward, we could come away with the $3,000 prize, but it wasn’t easy,” Simpson said.

I think the money should be used to improve [the students’] experiences here at BSM.”

— Mrs. Becca Meagher

The only thing that wasn’t on their side was time; there were just five days until the submission date when Simpson and Landry learned of the project. “It was really a grind. We came up with the concept in about ten minutes, and from there we were recording, and I was editing all the time. I was up until 12am or later every night, and I even had to skip some classes at one point. We put in at least forty hours over five days, but it was definitely worth it,” Landry said.

The concept for their video was how BSM encompasses the Lasallian tradition in the curriculum and activities to shape students and how they grow up in a secular society. “The video itself had to be three minutes or less. Our shots included mainly students in the BSM building, with a couple of drone shots of Highway 100 and the BSM campus,” Simpson said.

The video is centered around a written reflection by senior Kate Janda, which is recited by freshman Sophie Latourelle, and acted out in the video by senior Claudia Elsenbast. “It’s kind of funny to look back on it and see everything that happened within five days. Mr. Backen came up to me one day and told me about the video, and within the day, my part, which consisted of Joey and John just filming me walking around school, was done,” Elsenbast said.

I knew that if we put our best foot forward, we could come away with the $3,000 prize, but it wasn’t easy.”

— Joey Simpson

The $3,000 prize will be split between both the Campus Ministry and the English department, specifically for video journalism. “We are going to use the money to [get] a Gimbal for video-journalism. A Gimbal is a stabilizer for cameras, and it will allow us to incorporate more motion into our video without risk of unfocused pictures or shaking video,” Landry said.

As for campus ministry, Meagher wants the money to be used for the students, and she’s open to student input. “I think the money should be used to improve [the students’] experiences here at BSM. I’m open to suggestions,” Meagher said.

Even after such an accomplishment, both Landry and Simpson remained very humble, as noted by their peers. “All I did was write a one-page script. It was a good feeling to know I was a part of the winning video, but I felt like it was much more the videographers and all the hard work they put in. They are the real superstars, and they’ll use that money for something great,” Janda said.  

Landry and Simpson elevated the school to a national platform and represented in their video how BSM continues to embody the Lasallian tradition in all it does. “We are very proud of John and Joey and how they were able to make such a great work in such little time. We really asked a lot of them, and they certainly delivered,” Mr. Backen said.