Burnsville Teen Makes Documentary About Student With Cerebral Palsy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Burnsville High School student’s award-winning documentary teaches an important lesson.

Scott Tinkham, 18, set out to tell the story of his classmate, Jerrad Solberg, who has cerebral palsy.

“I know a lot of kids but as far as being really good friends I only have a few,” Solberg said.

The 15-minute movie, called “Jerrad,” just won the award for best documentary at the local EDU Film Festival for high school students this past weekend. Tinkham wanted to find a real story, but he got much more — a true friend.

“Everyone knew of Jerrad because of that walker he uses, there’s a story behind that walker,” Tinkham said.

“If you have a walker, they don’t talk to you because they think you don’t know how to have a decent conversation,” Solberg said.

The two friends decided to challenge preconceived notions through Solberg’s story. Solberg and Tinkham have gone to school together since 7th grade, but their paths never really crossed until this year.

“I needed to make a movie that meant something to me,” Tinkham said.

“I was nervous because didn’t know what the heck I was getting myself into,” Solberg said.

Together, the teens developed a 15-minute documentary about Solberg’s journey.

Born with cerebral palsy, the 18-year-old was never supposed to walk. Thanks to years of hard work in therapy that are chronicled in the movie, he now only uses his walker at school, mostly to carry his books.

“I feel like I’ve kind of accomplished a goal which was to change peoples’ perspectives on people with disabilities,” Solberg said.

Since the film’s first big screening last week, many more kids are reaching out to Solberg.

“They’ve been telling me how inspirational it was,” Solberg said.

But Solberg knows everyone with a disability won’t a get movie made about them, so he wants them to stay strong.

“If they want something, I hope it inspires them to work harder to get it because you don’t always just have to sit there and live life the way you are now,” Solberg said.

“I hope this film shows people he’s so much more than his disability,” Tinkham said.

Solberg will be a senior next year. Tinkham is planning to study film making at the University of Arizona next fall. The teens plan to enter the movie into several more national festivals this summer.

Check out the short documentary below.

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