In one of the more unique times in the history of the United States, Chanute’s school district ramped up its positivity and inspiration last week thanks to some familiar faces from around the community.
Royster Middle School Principal Don Epps and Chanute High School Athletic Director Zack Murry hosted a YouTube show called “Power 1/2 Hour Flooding the Positive.” The show is to tell all the positive stories from USD 413 and the Chanute community. The inspiration, messages and stories hit home for those on social media, spiking Chanute’s show to more than 1,000 views, shares from individuals across the country and 37 subscribers.
“It was kind of just a way for people to relax and not stress and panic so much about all the unknowns that are happening, and just hopefully bring the light and some of the good, positive things that are happening with the kids in our district,” Murry said. “It’s really kind of an outlook in the uncertain times that we are living in right now.”
Epps, an administrator known for his funny and inspirational messages, thought three weeks ago he could use his video skills during a time in which the nation, and the world, were – and still are – adjusting to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The timing of the video’s release last Friday comes on the heels of Chanute Elementary School, Royster Middle School and Chanute High School hosting a weekly Facebook Live and Zoom meeting with parents in the community. The goal of the virtual question-and-answer meetings was for USD 413 employees to answer any ongoing concerns.
With parents tuning in to the virtual sessions on a consistent basis, Epps planned for the YouTube show to continue to reach out to parents, students and community members, but in a more relaxed, uplifting and comical fashion.
“I just lost my mind on this topic thinking all the things we can do with this,” Epps said. “For 30 minutes a week, let’s just share all the positive stuff that’s going on in our community and maybe highlight things that didn’t get highlighted because of the COVID-19, things that kids couldn’t do because of this. It could be like our state chess team. They never got to go to state. The day they were supposed to go to state, that’s when school got canceled. They never got to compete. So we were going to feature them. And hopefully maybe we can do that in a future episode of this. There’s so many great stories going on in our community. ... Let’s laugh a little bit, smile, see the positive and the inspirational. That’s kind of what the whole thing was about.”
Epps, shown in multiple facial hair styles alongside Murry, provided his humorous way of delivering content. NCCC women’s basketball coach JJ Davis was also on the show expressing his methods of motivating every person he comes across in an effort to tap into limitless potential. Other segments included interviews with school employees and students.
The episode itself went smoothly thanks largely to CHS Computer Science teacher Caleb Wood, who created the opening scenes, transitions and edited music. To steer the flow of the show, Wood was able to take several video documents and make them into one, which materialized into the local now-popular show.
“I want to help any way I can and put a smile on people’s faces,” Epps continued. “People just need something to be positive about, something they look forward to.”
The first episode was all about positivity, and while there is a limited time available to do more YouTube episodes because it is the end of the school year, Epps did consider having the show for next year with students taking the lead in editing and hosting. Ideas included students performing trick shots, featuring the high school musical, and motivational speakers disseminating positive messages.
But that is for next year. This year, Epps said he expects to have at least one more episode in the coming weeks.
“I just thank the community for the support of it; we got such a positive feedback on it,” Epps added. “It for our community. It’s for our people here in Chanute. We just want to do anything we can to help them have a good outlook on life and help them.”