ORLANDO, FLA. — A bank president walked into a high school classroom carrying a big cooler. When he turned it upside-down on the teacher's desk, $10,000 spilled out.
The executive explained that the cash represented the difference between what a high school graduate and a college graduate would earn per year at an entry-level position at his bank.
The bank president was a participant in the Great American Teach-In, a program initiated by the Hillsborough Education Foundation in 1990 to introduce students to the world of work.
Yesterday, some 15,000 carpenters, lawyers, chefs, police officers, engineers, and others visited hundreds of schools in the Orlando-Tampa area as part of the Teach-In - now celebrated annually as part of National Education Week.
Terry Boehm, executive director of the foundation, says the number of volunteers has expanded exponentially, from 4,000 the first year to more than 15,000 this year. One result, he says, has been improving people's perception of public schools. "Once they see you don't have to wear a flak vest, and there are no food fights, they are amazed."