All School’s Day is the longest running celebration of education in Kansas’ history.
Anne Hassler, director for McPherson’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, took it upon herself to find more about the history of the event and why it has lasted for a century. The collection of her work will premiere in a documentary entitled “McPherson County All Schools Day: Celebrating 100 Years” at 7 p.m. on Friday at the McPherson Opera House. The premiere is free and open to the public.
The documentary is sponsored in part by the Kansas Humanities Council, and looks at what brought All School’s Day from its early days — as a way to recognize eighth-grade graduates across 123 country schools in the county — to today, where it has become a week-long celebration of students’ accomplishments.
Hassler has also written a book with the same title that reviews the history of All School’s Day. Hassler said the documentary takes a more personal narrative than the book, focusing on the people of McPherson.
“We wanted to get more people involved and show how a community can identify itself,” she said.
The documentary includes interviews with local residents and their take on the history of All Schools Day.
The film was made with the help of Keith Cantrell, a 20-year-old film production student, who is attending Taylor University in Indiana.
“He’s really creative, but also very positive,” Hassler said. “He’ll find a way to create a positive spin on anything he does.”
Cantrell will be at the documentary premiere to answer questions, alongside Hassler, All Schools Day chairman Mike Ross, and a Kansas Humanities Council representative. A Q&A session will be conducted following the documentary’s premiere.
This is the second documentary produced by the McPherson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau with Kansas Humanities Council assistance. The first is “Oil and Gold: The McPherson Globe Refiners Basketball Story,” which can be found at www.visitmcpherson.com.
Hassler said the All Schools Day documentary will be uploaded to the website eventually, but encouraged residents to purchase a copy of the DVD or the book to help support future Convention and Visitors Bureau projects.
Both items will be on sale at the documentary’s premiere.
For more information, call the McPherson Convention and Visitors Bureau at 620-241-3340 or at 1-800-324-8022.
Joseph Tuszynski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @JoeTSentinel.