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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Teach-In is where dreams are born
By SHELLEY KAPPELER
Published November 14, 2007
It's the same every year. My son's teacher sends home a form asking parents to come in for the Great American Teach-In. "Would you be willing to talk about your career or share a fun hobby?"
A couple of weeks later, a second, more desperate plea comes home. Now, odds would assume out of 20 kids in a class, at least 20 parents would be working. It is even more likely with two-income families. But, there are never enough speakers to fill the day.
Here's the kicker. Is your job worthy of the attention of 20 eager 9-year-olds? My husband has a great job as systems analyst for a builder, but I'm not sure that will translate into a lot of Q&A from the High School Musical set, and unlike the local weather guy from television, my husband doesn't have fun pencils in the shape of the sun to toss out to the crowd.
More often than not, it's not what the speaker has to say at these events, but what they have to show. And, that's a shame. This year should be different. There is one scheduled presentation that embodies the lessons behind the Great American Teach-In.
The Great American Teach-In not only exposes kids to a career they may not have heard about, but lets them know that your career can be your passion.
James Groetsch is a puppeteer. He worked for a group that performed shows. Although he was able to use his skills, it wasn't his passion. His dream was to build his own puppets and use his vision and creativity to run his own puppet theater.
In 2006, he took a chance. He quit his job, determined make a living at his passion. To make ends meet, he took a part-time job delivering newspapers and his wife, Anne Marie, took a part-time job at night. With three children under the age of 6, they persevered.
Their living room and dining room became a workshop. Puppet material was everywhere. One puppet ambitiously became seven. James made a working set, full lighting, wrote scripts, and did all the backdrops.
After a year and a half, they established their own touring puppet company and debuted their first show. Both parents and their oldest son perform in the show.
If the Groetsches ever achieve financial success, it will just add to the personal success they have achieved as a family. You get more than good entertainment from their puppet company.
This is what the Great American Teach-In is all about. Maybe the students learn a little about how Kermit the Frog was made. More important, they learn what is possible to achieve from your own dream.
Shelley Kappeler lives in Land O' Lakes. Today is the Great American Teach-In at Pasco County public schools.