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Aberdeen students participate in Netflix documentary alongside former president


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ABERDEEN — A documentary now available on Netflix highlighting America’s national parks features a group of students from Aberdeen Middle School.

Each year, seventh graders from Aberdeen are taken to Yellowstone National Park, according to teacher Sherry Yancey. The boys go for two days and the girls go separately for another two days. As Yancey prepared her students for last year’s visit, the school was contacted by representatives from Yellowstone with a request to include the school’s students in a documentary.

The invite was accepted.

“They put us up in a home and made sure we were all taken care of while we were there,” Yancey told “Great experience for six little girls.”

While Yancey and her students were excited to be part of a documentary, and guests of the park, the excitement didn’t stop there.

After committing to the documentary, produced by BBC and Wild Spaces — the company responsible for such titles as “Blue Planet” — Yancey learned that former President Barack Obama was also tied to the production.

“We just thought it’d be a great opportunity for these girls from Aberdeen to be part of a documentary,” she said.

Obama’s involvement was kept a secret until the students were making final preparations for their involvement, according to Yancey.

“We didn’t tell the girls until the night before, when we were already up in Yellowstone,” she said. “They knew they were going to be part of a documentary, but they didn’t know who with — they just knew it would be somebody somewhat famous.

“They were just in disbelief,” Yancey added, “it was the most exciting thing to ever happen.”

The students spent the day with Obama, discussing the impact of the National Parks. While Yancey and Aberdeen Middle School principal Ann Mennear do not expect the girls’ visit with the president to appear in the documentary in its entirety, they were told by the documentarians that the girls visit with the president will appear on a “see more” type extra feature within the documentary.

“They had a whole segment that they filmed with him,” Mennear told “They talked with him, they hung out with him for a couple hours.”

The documentary, “Our Great National Parks,” released Wednesday and features six episodes.