A short film produced by Saranac Lake native Kirk Sullivan is helping high school students expand their horizons when it comes to planning their futures.
“Success!” first debuted at Saranac Lake High School (SLHS). It features local actors singing and dancing through the school’s classrooms and hallways, with teenagers highlighting their own career interests and teachers responding with educational pathways to get there. Following the initial screening, 10th grade students engaged in a discussion with Sullivan and SLHS counselors Maria Braun and Christine Bell about how their personal interests can lead to fulfilling careers, whether they decide to attend college or not.
“The purpose of this project is to get students to start thinking about what they like to do, what makes them curious, and what types of learners they are, so they can start talking with adults about the options available to them after high school,” Sullivan said. “College is great, but it’s not for everybody. There are many pathways to successful, fulfilling careers.”
The next step for this film project is to bring it to other schools across the Adirondack region.
“We believe this film can inspire students and teachers everywhere to explore different avenues for students such as trade schools, community colleges, internships, scholarships, and grants,” Sullivan said.
“The video is very well done,” said Saranac Lake High School Principal Josh Dann. “It’s a non-traditional way to get conversations started about what the future looks like. As educators, we have to keep pushing these conversations.”
The film was produced with financial support from Adirondack Foundation, which views educational pathways as one of its key funding priorities.
“There are many different pathways for youth to find gainful employment and fulfilling lives in our region,” said Jennifer Russell, Adirondack Foundation’s vice president of grants and programs. “We hope this video is used widely by schools and communities to spark conversations and support our youth to find opportunities and resources that match their interests and strengths.”
Sullivan hopes to make more customized versions of the video for other schools around the Adirondacks.
“Adirondack Foundation encouraged me to produce something unique that would be memorable,” Sullivan said. “I couldn’t be more grateful for their support and for everything they do for our communities. Hopefully this video helps students across the Adirondacks to start having these important conversations.”
Sullivan grew up in Saranac Lake, studied cinematic arts at the University of Southern California and is a career filmmaker. He moved back to the area in recent years, and his filmmaking company, Bing Bang Boom Inc., has an office in downtown Saranac Lake.
The video can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/3-BtkCqQH0M.
To learn more about Adirondack Foundation, visit adirondackfoundation.org.
Photo at top: Filmmaker Kirk Sullivan of Saranac Lake with students. Photo provided by Jennifer Russell of the Adirondack Foundation.