Most Interesting People 2010 - Richard Clark

Richard Clark
President of St. Martin
De porres High School | 58

Why he’s interesting … Clark is giving hope and educational opportunities to hundreds of children. He turned his vision for a different education model into reality with Saint Martin de Porres High School.

How it works … Local companies pay $25,000 yearly to hire four high school students who each work one day a week, sometimes two because they rotate Mondays, and go to school the other four days. This “salary” pays for 55 percent of their tuition each year.

Hands on … Clark says content is no longer king. Students learn skills by doing them. They get to see how subjects such as chemistry or math are applied in the workplace. “If it’s not right, it’s bad; it’s not just a B.”

Good lessons … “We’re trying to give kids habits of mind and habits of spirit.” They’re taught to be inquisitive and do research.

The results … The school has graduated two classes — 100 percent of the students were accepted to college, and 88 percent enrolled. Of the students, 80 percent would be the first in their families to go to college.

The secret ingredient … Relationships. “Our point is to love these kids and stick with them, stand by them and stand up for them if needed. We are going to form them, and along the way we get formed.”

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