Their mission, which they chose to accept, required MaKayla Burton and Jacob Crabtree to help Spring Hill Middle Schools save utility costs and make a video about it.
Their reward, which they accepted at a ceremony in Kansas City, Mo., on May 16, is a $3,500 check for the school district.
The video mimics a trailer for a Mission Impossible film, complete with music, action and an almost-romantic moment.
In the opening sequences, Burton and Crabtree accept a mission to help the school save utility costs from SHMS Principal Rod Sprague. The pair dons sunglasses and dark jackets and goes about their mission turning off lights and replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones. They complete their tasks with a dramatic flair. For example in one scene, Crabtree jumps from a moving golf cart and rolls to his next task.
They filmed during a Saturday, because the takes required some extra athleticism and unusual backdrops. For example, in one scene, Burton and Crabtree climb on top of the SHMS roof.
Tom Carbajo, explorations in technology and mechanical drawings instructor at SHMS, filmed and edited the video.
He said he sought athletic and outgoing students for roles in the video. Burton is a league champion track athlete.
“The teachers are always asking me if anyone’s been asking for my autograph,” she said. The answer is no.
“We watched “Mission Impossible” trailers to get ideas,” Carbajo explained.
Every trailer included a love scene, but the eighth grade duo of Crabtree and Burton stopped short of kissing in the trailer as they were interrupted by an energy efficiency challenge.
“They didn’t quite get there,” Carbajo explained.
Crabtree said he is glad they filmed the almost-kissing scene last, otherwise, he said he may have been too embarrassed to continue filming or to attend a reception in their honor at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation on May 16.
Both Burton and Crabtree accompanied Carbajo to attend the luncheon and to accept a $3,500 from the Heartland Utilities Energy Efficiency video contest.
This is the third year SHMS students have participated in the contest, and the third year the school has earned $3,500 for their efforts. The funding was used to replace lights at SHMS, and next year will be used to buy energy efficient lighting in other buildings.
Burton said she learned a lot in the process of making the video. One – that she might be interested in doing theater when she enters high school next year.
“And I learned the little things we can do to save energy,” she said. “Turn off the light when you leave.”