One of the greatest opportunities came my way earlier this year. I received a call from Jimmy Bollman with the Francis Tuttle Vo-Tech here in Oklahoma City. Mr. Bollman asked if I would be interested in mentoring and assisting some of his technical student is obtaining patents for their semester projects, with Mr. Bollman willing to pay the fees for the patent applications out of his own personal funds. ( I tried to keep the costs at a minimum, but he paid them). At first, I was rather skeptical that these young teenagers could possibly have any ideas worthy of a patent. Oh, my goodness – was I in for a treat.
I spoke to several three member groups of students about their ideas, which were class projects that Mr. Bollman had them develop for his class. I discovered remarkable insight, remarkable talent and remarkable vision. An old geezer like me was absolutely delighted that these young minds were so progressive and visionary.
We ended up doing three patent applications, a trademark, a copyright and left several other ideas in a position for further development. These youngsters taught me as much as I taught them. Wow! … And I almost lost out because of a preconceived notion that the next good idea couldn’t possible come from someone their age and without further education.
My thoughts about mentoring youth have severely changed, as has my hope and confidence in the future. These kids are brilliant and under the right educational guidance (Jimmy Bollman) amazing things lie in store for us. Hope for the future is re-established and I am so excited that I have the opportunity to work with these student for a whole calendar year next year. I believe that other vocational schools should follow suit and I hope that they would see the benefit of these programs to a point where dedicated instructors were not having to sacrifice their own funds to make patents and other protection of brilliant ideas possible. The cost to return is nominal and the benefits to the students is the ability to change the world. The schools might even take a royalty interest in the revenue from these patents to recover their costs and expenses.
The future is solid and the time spent helping our youth along the pathway of development of creative thought is well worth it. Thanks kids, for teaching an old dog some new tricks!