June 5, 2024

CIM Academy student Rory Carson nurtures a second, non-musical passion: U.S. Presidential history

A portrait of Rory Carson

Greatest among all the great venues CIM Academy student Rory Carson is eyeing is one that has nothing to do with music: The White House.   

Her cello is a passion, certainly, but the career she envisions is in politics, in working for – or possibly even becoming – a U.S. President.  

“Maybe, who knows, in the next 20 years, I might run for office,” says the 15-year-old Shaker Heights rising sophomore.  

Whatever Carson’s ambitions, she’s off to a good start.  

Musically, of course, Carson is in the finest place she could be, at CIM, rapidly honing her solo and ensemble skills on an instrument she only picked up four years ago, during the pandemic.  

So far, after two years, she’s loving the Academy.  

“I’ve definitely improved my playing,” Carson says. “Before, I was just practicing. Now it’s much more rigorous.” 

In politics, meanwhile, she has an even bigger lead. Roughly once a month for the last two years, Carson has produced and starred in a new episode of “Presidential Did You Know,” an online video series she created illuminating U.S. presidential history.  

Fueled by pure intellectual curiosity, she crosses the political aisle -- and sometimes travels – to feature leaders from every era, ranging from Washington, Lincoln, and Ohio’s own Garfield to Carter and Nixon. Her favorite? Harry Truman.  

Unusual as Carson’s show and love for presidents are, they’re not surprising, given her family background.  

It’s only natural, she says, that the daughter of a communications executive and a former presidential advance lead would take an interest in presidents, and channel that interest into a YouTube series. 

“I had all this presidential knowledge, and we were looking for some way to make use of it,” says Carson, who lived in Washington, DC until age 12.  

In fact, Carson has more than mere knowledge. She has physical possessions and firsthand experience.  

Among Carson’s greatest treasures are a late autograph from Jimmy Carter (before he entered Hospice Care) and personal correspondence from a grandchild of Harry Truman. 

Even more precious are memories of trick-or-treating at the White House. It was that event that sparked Carson’s interest in government, there where she met former president Barack Obama.  

“That really made the experience for me,” Carson says. “That’s something I’ll always remember.”