Mikel Brogan is the Principal of Anahim Lake School. Last Friday afternoon, Mikel and I sat down in my office to watch a video telling the story of a young student from his school who had the chance to spend time with his hometown hero, Carey Price, a couple of months ago in Montreal. Of course, the video was not a surprise for either of us as the preparation time, a week of filming in the school and the Anahim Lake community, and a crazy few days in Montreal had been pretty intense. It had been six weeks of anticipation leading up to the release of the video on youtube. After watching the video, it was pretty easy to predict that the video had an excellent chance of going viral. At the time, we were the 61st youtube view. As of the writing of this blog post, the video has been viewed over 315,000 times.
While Carey Price and young Trent Leon deserve all of the accolades they are getting in the media world these past few days, there is much more that we as a district can take pride in. The projects which are featured in the video brought all of the students and many members in the community together. Every single member of the school had a hand in the planning and creation of the projects. To top it all off, this came at a time when the community of Anahim Lake needed some healing. I’m very proud of our staff and the students at the school. I’ve asked Mikel Brogan to give our readers a glimpse behind the scenes of this viral video. – Mark
By Guest Blogger Mikel Brogan
Principal, Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary School
In the middle of January 2015, Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary was visited by a full documentary film crew for approximately one week. The film crew included five members: Producer (Tara Johns), Director (Jeremie Levesque), an Editor, a Camera Man, and a Sound Technician. The film crew filmed the school in its natural state for the week. They filmed classes, assemblies and all other normal school activities. The purpose of the project was to highlight the Breakfast Program where the school provides warm breakfast and lunches to students on a daily basis. This money is partially provided by the Breakfast Club of Canada which is primarily based in Eastern Canada. The spokesperson for the Breakfast Club of Canada is All-Star NHL goalie Carey Price who is also an alumni of Anahim Lake Elementary/ Junior Secondary School. The purpose of the project was to highlight a day in the life of one of the school’s students: grade 6 student Trent Leon. The idea was to demonstrate how the Breakfast Program is helping lead youth towards healthier and more successful lives.
One of the highlights of the project was the involvement of internationally renowned artist, Marina Papais, and master woodworker, Daniel Collett, who spent a combined two weeks with the students of the school creating two large glass art pieces. Both Marina and Dan are retired BC teachers who enjoy volunteering their time in giving back to students through art. The project was partially aimed at commemorating Carey Price for his excellence and contributions to the school and community of Anahim Lake. Every student participated in the making of this project, and it will stand in the front entrance of the school for many years to come.
The project took almost a combined month of work and preparation and encompasses a large glass tile border which highlights the students of the month. A large wood and glass tile bench sits in front of the frame (pictures of the project can be seen on the school website). This project was then photographed professionally by the film crew and then made into a giant thank you card that was signed by all students. The photo of the students working on the project and the final product was put on the centre of the card. Then, grade 6 student Trent Leon and I travelled to Montreal with the film crew to personally deliver the thank you card to Carey Price on behalf of the students and community. Students also made cards with personalized messages which were also delivered to Carey. It was important to me as Principal of the school that the students acknowledge and give back to Carey for his many contributions to the school through the Breakfast Club of Canada. It means a lot that we are able to offer our students hot breakfasts and lunches on a daily basis. The students very much appreciate this and embraced this ideal, going above and beyond in their efforts to thank Carey. This is something that was touching for all involved.
In Montreal, the film crew filmed Trent hand delivering the cards to Carey Price after flying First Class from Anahim Lake to Montreal. Then Carey left his normal practice with his team, the Montreal Canadiens, and spent almost an hour with Trent Leon taking shots on him. Filming this experience was over half a dozen cameras including numerous Montreal film channels and the hit reality show, 24/7 CH, which is a very popular reality show in Quebec that essentially follows the daily lives of the Canadiens.
Two days later, Trent had the opportunity to watch the Canadiens play the Nashville Predators from the press box with Mrs. Angela Price, the founder of the Breakfast Club, Daniel Germain (Order of Canada recipient for his effort in founding the Breakfast Club of Canada), the film crew that created the project, and other top executives from the Air Canada Foundation who funded the short documentary. At the end of the game in which Carey was awarded First Star, he took Trent and me down to the players’ dressing room where he introduced his teammates and gave us a personal tour.
While watching the game, Angela Price had mentioned how she and Carey had a long discussion about the card and project the day before and how much it meant to him that the students and staff of the school would go through so much effort to extend their appreciation to him.
It should be noted that the project has been in the works for the last year. As the video indicates, the project was finally completed the day before Trent left for Montreal. We worked hard to get everything completed so that photos could be taken for the card that was delivered to Carey and for the purpose of the documentary. The broader scope for this project was to bring the community of Anahim Lake together so that everyone felt a closer connection to the school and each other. Additionally, it was the goal of this project to increase a sense of ownership among students and to strengthen their sense of belonging within the school. It is the feeling of many in the community that this project went above and beyond in achieving these goals. This project has been a big sense of pride for all students and other members of the community who took part in making it. The fact that we were able to honour Carey with this project for his many contributions to Anahim Lake School and the community only made the whole process that much more special.
In regards to the Carey Price portion of the bench, the idea was to show the development of Carey from a youth growing up in Anahim Lake to the leader he is now. On the bench in the project, we can see the sun rising over Anahim Peak which symbolizes Carey’s inception into the world. As the image progresses to the east (or to the right of the bench), we can see a large glass star made of reflective mirror. This star symbolizes Carey’s success. The idea for this was so that the students could look into the star and see their own faces. It was explained to the students that with hard work and determination, they, like Carey, can achieve their dreams and become a star in whatever they strive to become in their lives.
If you’re ever in the Anahim Lake area, please stop by the school and check out the project as it is now on permanent display at the front entrance along with other notable signed pictures of Carey.
Please refer again to the school website for links to many other articles and podcasts that have been written and recorded in the past few days.
I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries. As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain. While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel. I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources. While one of my goals for this blog is to open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved. Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark