Web Documentary

Sackville Schools 2020: A Web Documentary

Laura Fox has created an informative Web Documentary that examines the important education movement that is Sackville Schools 2020. Take a moment to read her thoughts on the process of putting it all together, and then watch this interactive and informative documentary to learn more about what it means to those involved.

Sackville has a lot to offer. No matter how long you’ve lived there, it seems we can all agree that there’s just something special about that little town. I moved to Sackville as a pre-teen and, admittedly, it took a while for the town to really grow on me. It was a tough age to move and the size of Sackville, along with the rural east coast way of life was all an adjustment. But as I grew up over the years, I came to love that place and to call it home. I realize now how much it really shaped me as a person.

Having gone to middle school, high school and university in Sackville, I was pleased to hear about Sackville Schools 2020 in its early days. To me, the idea of a group of community members coming together to talk about education—something that affects all of us in various ways—was just so Sackville. Having Mount Allison at its centre means that it’s a university town, with a post-secondary educational institution as a key part of its economy. But Sackville is not just Mount A. It’s unique in that it has every other level of schooling as well: pre-schools, an elementary school, middle school, high school, several adult and family literacy programs, and even a seniors’ college. Learning is something that the community values at every age. That’s why it just makes sense that a grassroots movement to revolutionize education in New Brunswick would begin in our little town.

I saw the growing Sackville Schools 2020 movement as an opportunity to add to my own learning path as well. I created this web documentary as a project-based thesis for my MA in the Joint Program in Communication and Culture between York and Ryerson Universities in Toronto. Having no previous technical background in film production or interactive storytelling software, the learning curve was steep. I was lucky that so many participants were willing to give me an interview, patiently waiting as I fiddled around nervously with lighting, audio and camera settings, and learning as I went along. The editing and web creation processes were also a struggle. It was a lot of me Googling how-to videos and panicking, but it came together in the end.

It was a true process of learning by doing, or experiential learning, a concept that is at the heart of the Sackville Schools 2020 movement. By presenting it all in this interactive way, it is my hope that audiences will be empowered by taking an active role in learning about the movement; you click on what you want when you want, as is how we often gain information in the 21st century—the information age. This web documentary, therefore, gives viewers information about education in Sackville, but the format itself also embodies the overall thinking behind Sackville Schools 2020: actively finding and following your own curiosity.

I learned a lot throughout this entire process and am thankful for the participation and support of everyone involved. Perhaps the most significant lesson, however, was how much people in Sackville really just love Sackville. This includes members of the Sackville Schools 2020 committee, who gave me the creative freedom to pursue my idea, but also all other participants who took the time to share their thoughts. As I contacted more and more people and as others asked me about my research, I encountered many ideas and possibilities that are entirely within reach for Sackville. It seemed like everyone had something to add, including parents, teachers, politicians, and former students who no longer live in Sackville (but who would happily move back).

Starting a conversation about our education is not about what we’re lacking or where we’ve gone wrong. Rather, it’s about where we are as a community, the strengths that we already have, and the ways in which we can continue to improve and move forward in a changing world. Let’s treat this as an opportunity to show others that our community is one of unique potential, which we all already know to be true.   

(If the above video player is not working, please visit the Sackville Schools 2020 Web Documentary page to view it properly.)