Gearhead Gives Back

Guest post by Susan Brenna

George Lucas’s biography is known to many who did not have their greatest shining moments in a classroom. He was a mediocre student in high school, but he did have a passion: fixing and re-building cars. His gearhead side came through in “American Graffiti,” the first of his films to hit it big. And then came Han Solo’s rust bucket in a little movie called “Star Wars.”

This week Mr. Lucas donated $25 million from his personal fortune to a Chicago program, After School Matters, that gives high school students the chance to find their passions and develop their skills in disciplines including arts, photography and technology. Students get real, hands-on experiences through intensive workshops, apprenticeships and summer jobs. Thanks to the filmmaker’s gift, the small stipends these students had once received — to pay for their bus fare, or perhaps a snack in the hungry hours after 3 — will be restored.

In all the international comparisons of educational effectiveness, one success other nations envy is America’s ability to produce creative, world-changing entrepreneurs like George Lucas. It’s worth noting where he places his bets on the future.