Capturing Elmbrook's past: Brookfield East senior films testimonials for 50th anniversary

Aug. 18, 2014

When Leslie Dehn decided to include video testimonials for the Elmbrook School District's 50th anniversary celebration, she sought help from the high schools.

Dehn is the executive director of the Elmbrook Education Foundation, which will host the weekend celebration on August 22 and 23.

Dehn spoke with both high school principals about potential videographers, she said, and one name became the obvious choice: Jacob Holiday.

Holiday, 17, will be a senior this fall at Brookfield East High School. He is active in a number of extracurricular activities, including yearbook and the drama department.

"I'm in a few clubs and make a lot of videos for them … and I guess my name must have traveled through the grapevine," Holiday said.

Holiday is the business and marketing lead for the school's FIRST Robotics team. He films and edits videos to promote the club's activities for sponsors.

But filming and editing eight testimonials for the district's 50th anniversary has been his biggest project yet, he said.

Below: Holiday's video

Filming History

Dehn knew she wanted to capture the history of Elmbrook, but she didn't quite know who to reach.

"I had no idea of how to find people for these testimonials," Dehn said. "I like networking and meeting new people, but I didn't know if a lot of alumni considered their education in the district a cornerstone for their lives.

"Fortunately, so many of them stayed in the area and their children are going through the district themselves. I think that says a lot about the district."

Interviewed guests include former Wisconsin state Sen. Ted Kanavas (a Brookfield East graduate), Margaret Moore (Elmbrook's first school board president) and WISN 12 sports reporter Stephanie Sutton (a Brookfield Central graduate).

"Before doing this project, I already knew we had an awesome school district," Holiday said. "But it's been amazing to speak with all these adults and learn about their success and accomplishments that the district helped establish."

Holiday was especially touched by an interview with Moore, now 92, who lives in a senior center.

"She was just so sharp and friendly," he said.

"These videos are just a snapshot of the success of Elmbrook," he added. "I'm sure there are so many other success stories from the district."

Holiday is currently wrapping up the video edits, a process he thinks will take about 12 hours. He said he is receiving some compensation for the work, "but the biggest thing for me was meeting all of these people and realizing just how blessed I am to be in this school district."

The testimonials will be presented during the evening celebration on Aug. 23 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center. More than 200 people have already registered for the event.

The videos also will be archived somewhere on the district's website, Dehn said.

"Based on the way Jacob interacted with all these people, it's hard to believe he's just 17," she said. "The (interviewees) were thrilled he was a current student … and I think he took a lot away from this experience."

For more information about Elmbrook's 50th anniversary celebration, visit

Thinking big

Ever since Holiday received his first camera in sixth-grade, his goal has been to "capture the world," he said.

He is in the early stages of developing his own production company, called Click Action Films. Holiday's videos can be found on his YouTube Channel,, and Facebook Page.

Holiday is interested in filming weddings, corporate videos and other commercial promotions, he said.

"I like telling stories and expressing my creativity by producing videos," Holiday said. "And God gave me this skill, so my goal is to use it to glorify Him."


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