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On Thursday, July 3rd, during a break in a business session, Bill Ryle, high school business teacher, shared a few moments at the 2008 NEA RA in Washington D.C. with Mr. Chris Gardner, the author of the popular book THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. This book would later become a blockbuster movie starring Will Smith.
Mr. Gardner asked Bill what was his involvement at this gathering of over 17,100 educators. Bill's reply was that he was only a building representative from his high school. Mr. Garner quickly retorted that his presence at this Representative Assembly was very important work.
Bill had mentioned to Mr. Gardner that he had seen him on television a number of times talking about young people not being financially literate. Bill, a personal finance teacher, mentioned that he was attempting to get the state of Massachusetts to require its high school students to pass a financial literacy program before graduating; since only eight states out of 50 have such requirement.
Mr. Gardner replied that we require all our high school students to pass a driving test to get a driver's license, but we do not require our students to take any training to manage their finances. "Why is that?" he asked. (Without training, both are potentially deadly,)
Bill found that in speaking with Mr. Gardner that he is a very sincere and caring man, who is passionate about children and their development. It was a great chance meeting; one that Bill will remember for a long time to come.