“I just kind of want them to know that we’re still around, you know?” – Alexis Burris
Deviney Luchsinger/Multimedia Specialist
Burris talks about film, life at the dorms
EUFAULA, Okla. — In the quiet halls of the small boarding school lives 17-year-old Alexis Burris. She has been attending the Eufaula Dormitory since she was in the sixth grade. She enjoys basketball and photography and recently did something remarkable.
This March she won the Difference Maker award at EAST Conference in Little Rock, Ark., for a feature length documentary over Eufaula’s Labor Day Powwow.
After a knee injury made her take a break from sports, Burris needed something else to occupy her time.
Her class came up with the idea for the documentary to educate others about the history of the powwow and her teacher encouraged Burris to run with the idea.
“I just kind of want them to know that we’re still around, you know?” Burris said.
She realized early on in the project that video was the easiest way to get her message across.
To learn more, she and five other students were sent to the University of Arkansas, where Burris learned to edit video with Final Cut Pro.
She said she sat in real college classes with real college students and that it had a big impact on her.
After the courses were finished, the conference began, and out of 4,000 other students, Burris won.
“4,000 students, and just one person out of Eufaula Oklahoma is just rare,” she smiled.
After it was over, conference manager Tim Stephenson personally asked for Burris to tell her she changed something in him.
“Out of everyone, you remember me? That not only fills my heart with joy, but shows a really good impact, and everyone knows my name,” Burris said.
She expressed her gratitude towards her teacher and the class she took for presenting her with the opportunity.
Burris was recently accepted to Kiamitchi Technology Center to attend the early care and education program. She plans to one day become a counselor to help other students like her and advocate for different topics that affect young people such as teen pregnancy, suicide prevention and sexual assault awareness.
“I needed someone to talk to and nobody was really there for me. And I want to be there for other people,” she said.
Besides helping others, Burris’ main passion is photography, which is something she has explored since she was a young child.
“I really like doing photography. I can work my way around the camera,” she said. “I just think it was what I was born to do.”
Her choice to go to the Eufaula Dormitory came about after her and her mother decided they wanted Burris to have a better opportunity for education.
“I think it’s a really good environment to raise children in,” Burris said. “Not only kids but young adults also.”
Her father and uncles attended the dorm so it seemed like the natural choice.
“It runs in the family,” she said.
Although living at the Eufaula Dormitory comes with its share of rules and restrictions, Burris said she enjoys life at the dorms.