By Laura Rider ‘19
Students at Conestoga Valley High School are surprised to discover a profound appreciation for a substitute teacher after making him the subject of their documentary for a college level English class.
Shaun Karli’s college in the high school students, Kate Snader, Raquel Lam, Alayna McEvoy, Asher Hardin, Christina McBride, and Lauren Thrush (all seniors at Conestoga Valley High School) reflect on what they have learned from Ken Fagerheim as they prepare to present their documentary at the Conestoga Valley Creative Minds Expo.
“We are learning about the life behind Mr. Fagerheim,” started McBride. “Because, obviously, most of the school has had him [as a substitute teacher]. They know bits and pieces of his story, but not his whole life. It’s so interesting to see the arch from when he was a kid to when he’s an adult.”
The group developed a process for constructing the documentary in which they divide the work by their strengths take advantage of each other’s skill sets.
“It’s pretty easy because they all contribute,” Snader said. “At this point, we have only taped a few days after school so whoever can stay, we stay.”
“Lauren provides the video camera and Raquel will be doing most of the editing,” added Thrush.
“And then we all make up prompts to actually interview him,” finished McBride.
The group has learned about more than just Fagerheim’s life from interviewing him; they have learned how to tell a good story.
“He’s an incredible storyteller,” said McBride. “You’d think that [his story] would be broken up or [show] nervousness, but he’s so great at integrating his whole life story to make it interesting while also not being four-days long.”
Although it can be relaxing sitting and listening to Fagerheim anecdotes, there is still much work to be done.
“I think it’s going to be difficult to keep track of all the information we’re acquiring and formatting it into a concise and informative and entertaining platform,” said Lam. “We’re going to need interviews of other people and to scan photos to insert into the video and voice-overs.”
Although assembling the film has come with many challenges, the group is eager to showcase the “Fagermentary” at the Creative Minds Expo at CVHS on December 13th.
“[We are] a little nervous, but nerves and excitement are very close,” said Lam.