Elk Ridge Graduate Constructed Answer to Organize School Theater Equipment
Bingham High School sophomore Bryson Rasmussen saw a need at his middle school, Elk Ridge Middle, and with the help of others, reorganized the theatre department’s tech room, including building shelving. (Christine Rasmussen/parent)
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By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bryson Rasmussen now is a Bingham High School sophomore, but when he was finishing up his ninth-grade year at Elk Ridge Middle School last spring, he was telling his mother about how the theater spotlights were scattered on the floor and the microphone headsets were just piled on a table.
“It really was a hazard where someone could have tripped and fell,” Bryson said. “The tech box is a small area so it really made sense to organize it.”
His mother, Christine, suggested building shelving units for the theatre equipment and also that it could work for a project he needed for his Eagle Scout award.
“I pitched the idea to the theater teacher, who said she liked it, and also to the Scoutmasters, who approved the idea and my application,” Bryson said.
Bryson, who moved to South Jordan in eighth grade, had taken Theatre I class before he took on the role as Chip in the school musical, “Beauty and the Beast” that spring. Last spring, he played Simeon in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
“I’m not a great actor or dancer, but I do love to sing and perform,” Bryson said.
Elk Ridge Principal Wyatt Bentley said that Bryson was heavily involved in the theater department.
“He’s a good kid who gave a great rendition in ‘Those Canaan Days’ in ‘Joseph’ and had a fun role as Chip in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’” Bentley said. “He was on stage, but when he saw a need that the microphones didn’t have a great way of being organized, he approached me to seek permission from the school to build cabinets that met building code.”
Once he got the approval, Bryson measured the theater equipment he was to organize and then the space involved before drawing up plans. Then, he estimated the cost for the plywood and supplies and set on a fundraising path for the materials.
“I wrote letters and distributed around the neighborhood and to friends, and people were very generous to help,” he said.
With his dad’s help, Bryson measured the wood he purchased and used a table saw to cut it to precise measurements. Then, he sanded it, and with his mom’s help, stained the wood.
“I hadn’t built anything like this out of wood before, but both my parents had some knowledge of working with wood, so that helped a lot when they showed me how to do things like sawing and staining the wood,” he said.
About 14 people, including boys and dads from other schools, helped him prepare the shelves. Since the tech room is a smaller space, only Bryson’s family assembled the shelving units.
“It took about two weeks from start to finish to build the shelves,” he said. “I thought it would only take one day to screw and anchor them into place, but it took two.”
Bryson said his project went as planned, with the exception of needing more screws and anchors than he originally thought.
He included that in his final report to Boy Scouts and answered questions at his board of review. Bryson has decided to wait to be presented his Eagle until after his brother returns from a church mission.
Bryson has received words of appreciation from his former teacher and those in the theater department.
“The main ‘techie’ thought this helped so much and the theater teacher, Mrs. (Kristie) Wallace, loved it,” Bryson said. “The orchestra teacher now is wanting a Boy Scout to work on an Eagle project for him.”
Bentley agreed: “Now, the sound booth is very nice and his contribution to our community really made a difference.”
Bryson said he learned that not only as a 15-year-old, can he work on a project to completion, he can improve a problem he identified.
“It was fun seeing people come together to help the school and build something that was needed,” he said. “It was inspiring.”