Nerd Chic

Paint the Town Plaid: HERO SCHOOL

I am a nerd. Anyone who knows me or has read any of my work on Word of the Nerd already knows this fact. I am unapologetic, and even proud of being a nerd. It certainly doesn’t have Hero Schoolthe stigma that it once did. Some of the smartest, wealthiest, and most successful people in the world are considered nerds. Bill Gates is a nerd. Kevin Smith is a nerd. Stan Lee is the king of all nerds. While I am nowhere near the success levels of these gentleman the fact remains that we share one common trait. We’re nerds! As a proud member of this awkward fraternity, I choose to try to bring new nerds into the fold by exposing people to what the nerd culture in America has to offer. Recently I wrote and article called Paint the Town Plaid: Molecular Gastronomy which brought to you a collection of the finest restaurants using scientific cooking techniques to satisfy the guest’s appetite for sustenance as well as entertainment. This time I have found a group that is taking nerd culture to the streets. They are starting at ground level with tomorrows nerds, our kids, and teaching them to appreciate nerd culture in a new and different way. They are training them to be superheroes at their Hero School.
I realize at first blush this sounds a little strange, but I looked into it for you, and I assure you that this group has the best intentions. This is not a sinister plot dreamed up by the Joker or the Red Skull to use a super-soldier serum and advanced brain-washing techniques to create an army of pint-sized henchmen to take over the world. You can check it out for yourself at Hero School Indiegogo, where these gentlemen are crowd-funding their school. I copied this video from their page to give you a sense of what they are trying to accomplish. I also contacted Chris “Dark Guardian” Pollak, who will head up the self-defense program at the school, to get some inside information.
Nerd: How did you come up with this idea? Why superheroes?
Dark Guardian: About 10 years ago I wondered why no one had gone out to fight crime and help the needy like superheroes. I did some research and started going out to do safety patrols, help the needy, and take action in my community. People were comparing this to being a real life superhero. I have taught martial arts for around 14 years now. So now I am combining the ideas. Along with a fellow team member Jeremy “Spyder” Gallant, a Parkour instructor, we want to teach people the skills a person needs to physically and mentally be like a superhero in real life. Training and heroism changed my life and I want to share that with others.
Hero School
Jeremy “Spyder” Gallant

Nerd: You mention teaching superhero ideals. What are those ideals in your opinion?
Dark Guardian: The ideals of a superhero I would say are morality, selflessness, courage, action, determination, and the list could go on for a while. I believe superheroes can teach us all something to help live our lives better.

Nerd: I get the health, fitness and self-defense aspects, and think they are very much-needed in the computer age. Tell me more about your plans for teaching anti-bullying, stranger awareness, and de-escalation. These are real-world skills that every kid can benefit from.
Dark Guardian: We have curriculum to teach all these things. Nowadays we hear a lot about bullying, abductions, and kids fighting. We are going to teach kids the practical skills of how to deal with bullies, stand up for themselves and others, how to stay safe in bad situations, and how to calm down a potentially dangerous situation.
Nerd: Your Indiegogo page mentions “HERO SCHOOL” will also have a curriculum in place to teach life skills, character development, superhero skills, personal development, and ways to help others and the community. Please expand on this for me.
Dark Guardian: Character development and the skills to help others are vital. We are  going to use superheroes to be examples of some of the different topics and to make their learning fun. I want everyone we train to develop a heroic mindset and use that to improve their lives and others. This is the type of education all kids need.
Nerd: How far will kids be encouraged to take the HERO aspect? Will the kids earn code-names? Uniforms?
Dark Guardian: We want them to be a hero in their everyday lives. We are trying to equip them with the physical and mental skills to be their best. We will have a lot fun with superheroes and all the different aspects of it. Past that is up to them.
Nerd: Everything I have read sounds like you don’t condone violence, and are focusing on non-violent conflict resolutions and self-defense. How ill you approach this aspect with young kids who may be more used to comic and movie depictions of superheroes which are generally violent in nature?
Dark Guardian: The comics and movies are great entertainment, but we are bringing superheroes into reality in what we teach.

Superhero SuppliesThe more information I get on this project the more I respect Chris, Jeremy and the rest of their group. In this case nerd culture, in particular superheroes, can be used to create healthier more well-balanced kids who have the social skills to make a better world for themselves and the rest of us. By training their bodies they will be healthier and safer in a dangerous world. By training their minds they will become valued members of a society that respect each other, and try to help make their communities a better place. I personally hope that these guys reach their goal of $8000 before the deadline that is just about a month away. If my kids were younger, and I livedSuperhero Supplies in Brooklyn they would certainly be in the first graduating class.  I did come across one piece of information that may help these guys. A friend informed me about a place called The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, which is a perfect match for a Hero School in several ways. Not only do they sell supplies for the novice and professional hero, but in a “secret lair” in the back they have a learning center that is “dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write”. Two great companies, spreading the nerd culture the old-fashioned way! Thank you both, and good luck!


About the author

John Kowalski

John is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He is currently a retail manager in a company who shall remain nameless. He is the father of three awesome children, despite his parenting. He has loved comics, books, television, movies, and gaming for as long as he can remember, and uses any excuse to escape into worlds of fantasy and intrigue. His Dad called his room the Bat Cave when he was growing up and had no idea of the significance.


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