Draper University, a new entrepreneurial school, promises to invigorate downtown San Mateo, but also to provide a valuable resource for the future Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the San Mateo Union High School District. It couldn't happen at a more auspicious time. Funding for the gifted and talented education program, or GATE, is at an all-time low. In fact, the district provides no funding although a marginal GATE program continues to exist supported by parents. According to program coordinator Kevin Nelson, Tim Draper and his firm have hosted students from the local GATE program in career and job shadow programs for the four past years.
Who are these students? They score extremely high on IQ tests or otherwise show extraordinary talent. They are often our nation's future scientists, doctors, engineers and leaders. Without a challenge, they often get bored in school and waste their gifts.
Nelson feels the location of Draper University in San Mateo with its cutting edge programs in entrepreneurship, innovation and venture capital, "will help students discover and unchain their passions and ambitions before, during and after college." According to Nelson, Draper takes personal time to meet each student group and challenge them to change the world, to be the next leaders and change agents. This may be the best thing that's happened to the GATE program in a long time. Nelson says the proximity of Draper University to our high schools is an exceptional gift. The university is in the planning stages of launching high school level programs which are targeted at stimulating and developing GATE students.
Draper, Fisher and Jurvetson have helped launch companies such as Skype, Hotmail, Tesla and Twitter. Draper University is housed at the former Benjamin Franklin Hotel, Collective Antiques and the old Wachovia Bank building in downtown San Mateo.
The Gary Monisteri Golf Championship at Poplar Creek canceled in December due to heavy rains will be played this weekend Feb. 16-17. The long-running tournament was named a few years ago, after Monisteri, who worked as the golf pro at the city of San Mateo's golf course for nearly 30 years. The county golf championship got its start in 1933. U.S. Open champion Ken Venturi, a San Francisco Bay Area native, won the county golf championship as an amateur in 1948. Venturi, who is to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this spring, will always remember those days competing in the San Mateo County Championship and is pleased to hear that the tournament continues to this day.
The famous golfer had other connections to San Mateo. He was a friend of the Murray family. Father Murray was a brother of John Murray, former San Mateo mayor. Father Murray was mentioned in Venturi's book. "Getting Up and Down" because of the help he offered the famous golfer when Venturi was going through tough times. The book is a tale of success in the face of adversity when the golfer's brilliant career was prematurely halted by injuries. Venturi then went on to a successful career in broadcasting as the sport's most famous ambassador. For more information on the 78th annual San Mateo County golf tournament call 522-4653 or visit www.poplarcreekgolf.com.
It was a long and competitive battle to pick the cities of San Mateo County representative on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Redwood City Mayor Alicia Aguirre finally won after several ballots. Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan and Burlingame Councilman Jerry Deal were also in the running. Deal dropped out; Papan and Aguirre were tied. On the final vote, Aguirre prevailed. The MTC representative is picked by the mayors of the cities of San Mateo County. Aguirre takes the place of Kevin Mullin, former South San Francisco councilman, who was elected to the state Assembly. MTC is the regional transportation agency and funds transit , highway, bike and pedestrian programs in the nine-county Bay Area region.
Sue Lempert is the former mayor of San Mateo. Her column runs every Monday. She can be reached at email@example.com.