June 2, 2010 - 11:00 PM
The following takes place between 11:00pm and 12:00am:
I can't sleep. My brain seems to be overflowing with amazing, but difficult ideas and I'm bursting with energy from thinking about them. For a few hours out of the day I thought I was going to take this crazy idea, become an entrepreneur and that would be my big break. But, then I remembered too many other things I also want to do, and an idea this good can't wait. So, I'm going to share my big ideas with you, in the hopes that you or someone you know will take my dreams and make them a reality.
Let's flashback to my flight home from Michigan on Monday:
I'm not one to usually read those "Sky" magazines, preferring instead my own carryon reading materials. However, due to a series of unfortunate events that kept me from watching a highly anticipated in-flight movie, I turned to instead this magazine waiting for me in the seatback pocket just below the tray table. Something on the cover caught my eye, an article or two about the upcoming World Cup, and I was willing to see what the magazine had to offer.
What I found inside surprised me. I spent a moment or two browsing through interesting World Cup facts, but fate led me to flip to another page before I retired the magazine back to its seat pocket - "A Spotlight On Pittsburgh." I have never been to Pittsburgh, I don't even know what made me want to read about it, but I'm glad I did. Somewhere tucked away next to some advertisements, was a small piece highlighting Pittsburgh's Promise to students:
All students who graduate from a public high school with a 2.5 GPA and a 90 percent attendance record, and goes on to attend a Pennsylvania college, will be offered a college scholarship worth up to $40,000.
I remember realizing in the moment how awesome of an investment practice this was. It gives students motivation and opportunity to work towards a college education, and it's a simultaneous investment in improving the public education system. Brilliant. Good for Pittsburgh. But then I'm assuming a flight attendant arrived with cookies and a drink and my thoughts on the matter ended there for the time being.
Once I was home in Oregon, I started thinking back to an article I recently read online, "Nearly One Third of High School Students Drop Out". Except this story wasn't in Pennsylvania, it was right here in Oregon. Some Portland public schools measured drop out rates as high as 50 percent. I put two and two together and my inspiration for the Portland Promise was born.
Somewhere on scratch paper and napkin corners I have drawn organization logos, come up with a list of necessary tasks, a list of potential donors - all Oregon based companies capable of giving back to their community, and most importantly, a hope for a better future within Oregon schools.
The Portland Promise can be made possible. And if you don't believe in its ability to succeed, consider what it did for the students of Pittsburgh - once scholarship recipients arrive at the college level, retention is higher, GPAs are higher, more students are taking a full coarse load, and within the Pittsburgh school district, the quality of a public education has significantly improved. Let's make a promise to our students in Portland. Let''s make a promise to our students in Oregon. Let's change the future.
Authors Note: This term I've decided to dissect my day one hour at a time to inform you about my college life. My own life set to the Fox Network's hit show "24." ...If only I were as sensational as Jack Bauer. In this ‘season' you can expect a thrilling and innovative drama complete with a few unforeseen plot twists.