Getting personal: Pair in DODDS competition with play about McDonald’s leader
April 8, 2009
Lakenheath Middle School eighth-grade students Megan Shields and Jessica Bermudez are heading to Wiesbaden, Germany, this month to compete for a third consecutive year in the Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe Regional National History Day Competition.
The two will perform their play about the life of Ray Kroc, the driving force behind McDonald’s, which shows how he made an impact on society that goes well beyond his hamburger chain. Their research included a trip to the Ronald McDonald House in London, where they interviewed some of its staff. The Ronald McDonald House is a charitable organization that Kroc started.
If they win the Group Performance category for their age group, they advance to the national finals in Washington for a chance to win college scholarships.
Why did you choose to do a play on Ray Kroc for the competition and how long did the research take you?
Jessica: We have been working on it since November. We have a history of making plays. We are still doing research to improve the play.
Megan: We started writing plays (together) in the fifth grade. We are trying to make it more about his life.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about Ray Kroc?
Jessica: The most interesting thing I learned is he didn’t do it for the money. He did it for the fast service … and he was a clean freak.
Megan: He was a bit older when he started McDonald’s. He had all these really odd jobs. He was a pianist, he was an ambulance driver and he sold paper cups. He bought it from the McDonald brothers.
What kind of impact did Ray Kroc have?
Jessica: He had a really big impact. He started this fast-food chain that is the biggest in the world.
Megan: I think he had an impact on a lot of things. In 41 countries, there is a McDonald’s. And he really spread the Ronald McDonald House (throughout the world).
What was the most enjoyable part about doing the project?
Jessica: We made a backboard (stage set) for it. It’s probably six feet tall. It says "I’m Loving It."
Megan: I really enjoy acting. That is one of my passions. Jessica plays a variety of characters, and I play Ray Kroc.
How do you feel about going to Germany to compete?
Jessica: We are excited. This is our third year and we haven’t made it past the regionals.
Megan: I’m excited. I’m feeling more pressure because I’m moving and she’s moving (and this is the last year together).