Everett HS students star in Foundation’s film “Sammy” to promote education programs

The mascots of Everett Schools, with Everett High’s Sammy the Seagull at center flanked by Cascade’s Bruin and Jackson’s Timberwolf, plus friends peering out of the bus windows.

The mascots of Everett Schools, with Everett High’s Sammy the Seagull at center flanked by Cascade’s Bruin and Jackson’s Timberwolf, plus friends peering out of the bus windows.
Photo courtesy Everett Public Schools Foundation

EVERETT —  On a three-day weekend in early winter, a group of drama students from Everett High School gathered in the bleachers to star in a film called “SAMMY.”

The film, inspired by the 1993 sports movie “Rudy,” was produced by the Everett Public Schools Foundation. It tells the story of a student named Zach, played by junior Alex Hernandez, whose dream is to be Everett High’s school mascot, Sammy the Seagull. 

Written by Erik Heinz, an assistant principal at Everett High School and a foundation board member, this is the second of three films the foundation is creating to promote its programs. The first film, titled “Back to the Foundation,” was a spin on “Back to the Future” and featured students from Jackson High School. 

This year, the foundation invited students from Everett High School to take the spotlight. 

Annie Burley, a junior at Everett High School, was one of the students who starred in the 28-minute film. It’s interspersed with educators describing how the foundation is benefiting students district-wide. 

Burley, who was also preparing for the drama department’s “Addams Family” production, played the role of Coach Burley.

This was Burley’s first time on a film set; all her prior acting experience had been on stage with months of preparation.

“Usually when I get a role for school, I have a lot of time to prepare because we have months before we actually perform,” Burley said. “I have a lot of time to just kind of get to know the character, but for Coach Burley I literally got the role the day before we started filming. So I had to learn lines while we were filming.”

The shoot took place primarily over three days, with one of the shooting days lasting between eight to nine hours. On her first day on set, she struggled to keep a straight face during her first scene.

“It was also like 8:30 in the morning, and my brain wasn’t necessarily on yet,” Burley said. “I just kept having to read it over and over again before we would actually run the scene. That was probably the most challenging scene, but after that, we got the hang of it and it was super fun.”

The film recently had a sports-themed movie premiere, and the actors received their own mini Oscars and movie posters, one of which Burley still has hanging in her room.

“It was really nice to do this for a good cause,” Burley said. “Making this film and showing it to people helps raise awareness about what some of these kids are going through.”

Each scene of the film aimed to educate viewers about the various opportunities the foundation provides to students throughout the year.

“The Foundation has four pillars,” said Kay Fantin, executive director of the Everett Public Schools Foundation. “There are multiple different programs that fall under those pillars, such as early learning, impacting students’ family and staff outcomes, college, career and life readiness, and then student needs and wellbeing.”

The foundation gives out $100,000 in scholarships annually, last year raising $530,000 through donations, grants, and support from local businesses.

The film was created to garner support and donations for the foundation, which is now about $30,000 away from its $100,000 goal. This year, it highlights several key programs: Stuff the Bus, P5 instruction in early learning programs within Everett Public Schools, the Kids in Transition program, and the foundation’s funding for the school district’s music program.

To donate to the Everett Public Schools Foundation or find a link to watch the film “SAMMY,” visit www.everettsd.org. The film’s on YouTube at https://youtu.be/IVE9svJuoAA .