As the early morning sun peeks out over the fields surrounding Vermillion, a drone equipped with a video camera is circling high above the small rural village, its church steeple, and the school playground, capturing the scenery and beauty of the area.

Soon, the drone is hovering over school buses rolling into the parking lot and chattering students excited to start their school day.

Earlier this spring St. John the Baptist Catholic School partnered with Robert Reinke, owner of Majesty Creations, a full-scale video production company based in Forest Lake, to produce a promotional video with funding from the Richard M. Schulz Family Foundation Fund at the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence.

"We needed a way to capture the beauty and vitality of the Vermillion community and parish, as well as the excitement and everyday progress within the walls of our school," said Principal Dr. Mike Strommen. "We were excited to work with Reinke from the start."

Reinke said his strategy in capturing the essence of a school like St John's is to meet with the school's principal and then submerge his staff into the school by talking to students, staff, teachers, and parents to capture the most well-rounded sentiment about what the school is at its core.

"This step cannot be forced or rushed," added Reinke, "We cannot capture the authentic spirit of a place if we are not immersed in it. We like to spend at least 2-3 days at a school. This helps us really encapsulate the reality of a school day and the heartbeat of the people who drive it."

Alumni, parents, teachers, the parish priest, and students all spent time in front of the camera, operating robots, playing instruments in music class, or sharing their experience at the school located five miles from Hastings.

So far the video has received rave reviews from alumni, parents, parishioners, teachers, students, and donors of the school.

"There are some people who have never been to our school and who may have never visited Vermillion, Minn," Strommen said. "We want to give them a snapshot of what they are missing."

The school video is available to view through the school's website by clicking on the school logo: