was recently driving back from the Oregon Coast when I noticed a
bumper sticker that absolutely moved me. It read: "If you can
read this...thank a teacher." The sticker was a
simple reminder of the value of education, yet hinted at our society's
general lack of acknowledgement and respect for the institution.
Rather than rant and rave, as we at Anvil are prone to do, we're
actually going to do something about it: Anvil's First Annual Get
SMART Gala, September 13th at Bridgeport Brewery in Portland,
Before I go
into the details about the event itself, I'm going to provide a
little background in the hopes it will inspire you to get involved.
As a child, I was a struggling reader and loathed math. Being an
only child, I was lucky enough to have a supportive foster sister
that spent hours helping me with my multiplication tables and phonics.
My parents were also tremendously helpful with homework ...
although nobody could help with calculus.
you follow the news, you know that the Hillsboro School District
in Oregon has taken a beating in the media recently. Compare the
effort to pass funding measures for schools with the fight to bring
major league baseball to Portland, and you get a clever campaign
sponsored by Hot Pepper which provides bumper stickers for your
car that say: "Bring
major league education to Portland."
a Bulldog, a graduate of Garfield
High School in Seattle, where teachers like Mr.
Anderson inspired me to think well beyond the physical world
he taught us about every day, and got us thinking about things like
investing and developing a good credit history early in life. He
wasn't the only gifted teacher, we had a magnet math and science
program that attracted top talent from around the city, even though
our school was notorious for its ghetto location.
my graduation class of 1990, we had more National Merit Scholars
than anywhere else in Washington
state. Two of my classmates even aced the SAT. I wasn't so lucky,
but I took what I learned to college and many of the classes were
easy compared to the honors classes I took at Garfield.
Now that I've
exited the school system and have had a few years to apply my education,
I've been lucky enough to work with technology-based companies like
StudyDog and Learning.com here in Portland that help struggling
and disadvantaged students succeed. While some believe technology
is creating a gap between the haves and have-nots, I believe it's
bringing us closer together.
I agree the system clearly needs help, I am the proud product of
the Seattle Public Schools system and an avid supporter of public
education. I'm not the type to lose faith in the system; I'd prefer
to help fix it. Hence the inspiration for Anvil's First Annual Get
SMART Gala, where guests can help by volunteering and/or donating
to offset costs for supplies for struggling readers. Please contact
me for details on the event, or to help or donate items for
the silent auction. More information will be forthcoming. If. For
more information on the SMART Reading Program, visit their Web site