Quinley McCarroll

Bullis Charter School fourth-grader Quinley McCarroll made a documentary about how Los Altos residents have responded to the pandemic.

Quinley McCarroll, a fourth-grader at Bullis Charter School, recently made a documentary highlighting how Los Altos residents have grown and learned from the pandemic.

Quinley said she undertook the project because she was interested in learning more about how people have grown from the pandemic in positive ways. The Los Altos resident said she titled her video “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining” to reflect that idea, and to highlight lessons learned from the pandemic.

“I wanted to create a film that captures how our community has developed new dimensions, due to COVID,” she said. “With vaccines now available to adults and even to children 12 and older, we are transitioning into a new phase of how we live. It is important to retain the lessons we learned over the past year.”

To make her documentary, Quinley interviewed local business owners and public officials, including Los Altos Mayor Neysa Fligor, Los Altos Police Department Capt. Katie Krauss and Santa Clara County Fire Department Capt. Justin Stockman.

Quinley, who said her favorite interview was with Kim Mosley from the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, noted that she was pleasantly surprised by how accessible public officials were in responding to interview requests.

“If you email, like, on a Saturday morning, they’ll reply really soon,” she said.

When deciding whom to interview, Quinley said she sought out people with different points of view.

“The businesspeople talked about, ‘What do I change tomorrow to serve customers?’ The educators talked about, ‘What lessons can be taken away by kids?’

The public officials talked about, ‘How do I ensure those who can help get connected to those who need help?’” she said.

After conducting her interviews, Quinley began producing her documentary by first learning new skills, such as how to edit a video with iMovie. While the process proved challenging, she said it was ultimately rewarding.

Quinley added that it took her about three months to make the seven-minute documentary – and she did it all on her own.

She isn’t sure if she will make more documentaries – she said it depends on whether she can find another subject she is passionate about, as she was about the pandemic and its silver linings.

“Difficult times reveal new dimensions of human strength, like kindness and empathy,” she said. “I think it shows that no matter what happens, something good has to come.”

To view the documentary, visit vimeo.com/551770446.