Going Head First Into 2013

I’ve had a busy year so far. I posted at Head First every Thursday, with articles exploring the Paterson Silk Strike centennial, an ice-covered fire tower in the Catskill Mountains, an old stone bridge and early American roads, and old mining areas. Yesterday we posted our first video that we made together. It follows us as we explore the grounds of a community that was rooted by an anarchist-inspired school with a former resident describing what life was like there.

As described at Head First,

The Modern School, based on the ideas of Spanish anarchist Francisco Ferrer, was a radical program of freedom in education. After Ferrer was executed in 1909, anarchists and social reformers founded Modern Schools in many countries, and the movement took root in the United States. From 1915 to 1953, a community anchored by a Modern School existed in Piscataway Township, New Jersey.

Head First took a tour of the old Ferrer grounds with Bob Vinik, who grew up in Stelton and attended the Modern School. He gave us a fascinating picture of community life and how students grew into successful adults. We also got a chance to see how the land of the old colony has changed as Piscataway Township grew around it. It was a pleasure meeting Bob and discovering the unique history around the corner.

Originally I had wanted to do a few videos before we did the Modern School, as I knew it would be a challenge to do justice to the topic. But I am satisfied that we made what we wanted: a fun and informative video that can inspire people to learn more about things like the Modern School and to explore the history around them. I was excited and a little nervous while filming since I had never made a documentary video before. I trust that my excitement comes through, but I do see some things I can work on for my next video presentation.

Up next is trying to grow Head First into a solid series with broader coverage and more readers and viewers. I’m working on a few trips now, which will include winter scenes and places a little farther from home. I want the series to not only impress the viewer with how cool these places are, but also to showcase examples of things that can be explored with various levels of personal investment.

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