by Steven Dugan
What do you get when you combine an enthusiastic student, a love of film, an interest in history, and a passion for problem solving? You get one of the Homestead’s newest volunteers, Gerry Orzikh. Gerry joined the volunteer staff in September 2017, just in time for our Ticket to the Twenties festival and holiday programs. As we’ve gotten to know Gerry, we’ve learned that his family came to the United States from Russia, that he is home-schooled through an online program (you’ll learn more below), and that he is incredibly involved with his love for film. We asked him to tell us a bit more about himself, how he found the Homestead, and more!
How did you find the Homestead Museum and what made you want to volunteer here?
I wanted to get into volunteering for my community. I have lived in the area for a few years and passed by the Homestead Museum many times, so I looked online for local volunteering opportunities and chose this one instantly as soon as I recognized the name. I was always intrigued by this place and its history.
Can you tell us a bit more about the high school courses you are taking online? How is it different from what high school students traditionally take?
The online high school offers the exact same classes as a regular one, and a bit more! I go to Connections Academy, which has branches all over the country. They have a wide range of classes available aside from the general classes found in a regular high school setting. There are many technical careers like accounting, law, and more. There are also more creative classes like digital photography and 3D animation. The list is much larger than that of a regular high school and it really allows me to diversify my education, as well as have the flexibility of working on my passion projects on my own schedule.
What are your favorite subjects in school?
I love English, math, and history. One of my passions is reading and writing, so English is always a joy. History, I found, is like reading the largest book ever created: The History of Humanity. I enjoy learning about the past and how it reflects our modern times, and perhaps how we can even learn from the past to look into the future. It is one reason I love the Homestead Museum so much; it not only reflects on the past but allows you to connect the events of the past to the present and future. I also like math, as I view it almost as a game, where there are rules and strategies you learn to get through different conflicts (problems). I love the feeling of achievement you get from solving math problems correctly.
In addition to your studies, what hobbies or other activities do you enjoy?
Outside of school, I love all things film. Since I was eight years old, I have been writing and making short films. They range from PSAs all the way to a sci-fi animated series. I post them on my YouTube channel, World According to G. I try to get better as time goes on and I learn from any mistakes. As I mentioned, I also enjoy writing, so I recently went through a lengthy two-year process of writing and self-publishing a novel called Lucky or Not, Here I Come. Right now, I am focusing on script writing (best of both worlds!) and hope to get one or two feature-length scripts done by the end of the year. I am also a film critic part of the coalition for children’s media, KIDS FIRST! I review new films, cover premieres and events related to films, and often host a radio show all about films under PG-13, with other young film critics.
What are your plans after graduating from high school?
After high school, I hope to get into a film school and get a Bachelor of Arts degree. My number one choice is USC and it is currently my dream school. I was lucky enough to be accepted into the USC Cinematic Arts Summer Program this year, where I will be honored to get the mentorship of both USC professors as well as industry experts at Universal Studios. I hope to produce and direct films in college, as well as after I graduate. I am a big fan of the sci-fi author, Isaac Asimov, and would love to put his famous book series, The Foundation, onto the big screen.