Saturday, September 01, 2007

Mr. Gates: Can you please take the time to read this book?

The Executive Response Team at Microsoft wrote to me. Here is their response to my letter, verbatim:

Thank you for contacting Bill Gates at Microsoft. We reviewed your email with interest and found your correspondence relates directly to Mr. Gates’ work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is a separate organization from Microsoft Corporation. The below links provide further information relating to Mr. Gates’ work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which you may find to be helpful for finding the right contact for you to redirect your correspondence.

Reference and quick facts
Foundation Leadership
Contacting the Foundation
Grant Information

Thank you for your interest and best wishes for the future.

Office of the Chairman
Microsoft Corporation

I should have expected no other response than this. Mr Gates is a busy guy and I understand that he cannot see or read everything directed at him. Additionally, some days later, I received the following kind and informative email from the staff of the Gates Foundation
Dear Chris Heimark,

Thank you for writing to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Your letter to Mr. Gates has been forwarded to me for reply.

We appreciate your interest in our country's education system, and thank you for sharing information with regards to the book your father wrote.

The foundation's Education initiative seeks to improve U.S. high school graduation and college readiness rates for all students, particularly those from historically underserved populations. In pursuit of this goal, the foundation supports the creation of new schools and the redesign of struggling schools to provide all students with a revised version of the 3Rs - academic Rigor and Relevance and supportive Relationships. Our Education initiative also works to provide children with opportunities for quality early learning and funds scholarship programs that reduce financial barriers to higher education for low-income and minority students. Please note that the Education initiative does not accept unsolicited proposals.

For more information about the Education initiative please visit

For information about how to become personally involved, please visit the Strong American Schools Web site at or contact them at Strong American Schools is a nonpartisan public awareness and action campaign offering a voice to every American who supports "ED in 08."

For more information on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation please visit our Web site at


"Staff Representative"
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
While this is an informative response, it doesn't really address the book does it? It doesn't even acknowledge that the book might be a useful tool in fighting the dropout rate.

This book has been used effectively in a few instances and all it needs is the right endorsement. Mr. Gates, are you listening?

I believe this is a case where an endorsement must come from the top. So I decided to send two copies of the book directly to the Gates Foundation. A hardback copy is for Mr. Gates to read and a soft-back copy for his staff. I also enclosed, as a response to email from the Gates Foundation, the following letter:
August 29, 2007
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
c/o "Staff Representative"
PO Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102

Dear "Staff Representative":

I was a little surprised at this reaction. And then I wasn't so surprised...

I understand that Mr. Gates is completely inundated with more material and ideas than he can possibly absorb. I don't necessarily envy that.

What I have described herein IS worth a serious look by someone on Mr. Gate's staff ... and then eventually himself. It is as a result of this feeling that I have enclosed two copies of the book I describe. The paperback is for anyone OR all of your staff to read. You'll all be glad you did.

The hardback is for Mr. Gates to read; and I would respectfully ask that you please place into his hands directly. It is rumored that Mr Gates, when he goes on vacation, takes a stack of books to read. It is my firm belief that this one ought to be included in that reading list. What harm can it do to provide it? None. What good might it do, were Mr. Gates to read it? An infinity (of good) ;-)

Please make this paperback available to your staff. And please make sure this hardback makes it to Mr. gates reading stack. You would be honoring my father and his vision of making America better ... AND you'll be helping MANY high school students avoid the tragic choice of dropping out of school.

Sincerely yours,

Chris Heimark
I am going to continue to (b)log this conversation until I get a response that results in the attention this book deserves. Mr. Gates, would you please take the time to read this book? And endorse it as required reading for all wannabe dropouts across all high schools in America?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An open letter to Bill Gates

Here is a copy of a letter I have sent to Mr. Gates, at as many email addresses as I can find for him. If you know of a channel through which you can get this letter to him to see directly, please feel free to send it to him ;-) Thanks.

Dear Mr. Gates:

I recently saw you featured prominently in a Rich Sanchez video report discussing high school dropout rates. Here is a link to that CNN video.
Video: High School Graduation Rates
I am writing to you because this is a subject that is close to my heart - as well as being an important subject for the nation.

Significantly, my father wrote a book for students who are thinking about dropping out of high school. In his memory, my siblings and I are keeping his work on this subject alive by blogging about the book here [this blog]:
I would like to ask for NO money. I would only ask that the Gates Foundation buy as many copies of this book, at cost, for distribution to high schools, as the foundation sees fit. I think the cost of several copies in every high school in America is a pittance against the potential payoff. The book is an easy read for discouraged wannabe dropouts and could be the force that changes their minds. Again, we want no money - just the knowledge that the book that my father worked so hard to write and publish is put to good use. And that it changes some minds.

Sincerely yours,

Chris Heimark

Monday, June 18, 2007

Schools can really benefit from this book

June - Thanks so much for passing the book on. It can only have a positive and good effect on our children's future. Tthis is a perfect start! Chris

I give copies of this book to Bronx teens who are struggling in high school. This book can make a difference and inspire completion of a high school education.
June Helme, LCSW-R, Astor Child Guidance Center, Bronx, New York

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Students Dropping Out of High School Reaches Epidemic Levels, Part II

ABC World News just broadcast the second part of this eye opening story (just click the photo to the right here). Tonight we heard some stories from Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Washington. You can link to Clover Park High School here. While the stories were different from last night, the upshot is the same. We have to somehow stem the tide of kids dropping out of high school!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Students Dropping Out of High School Reaches Epidemic Levels

FINALLY! The media has actually picked up on this horrible epidemic. Read the story at ABC World News Tonight website here.

Imagine - 1/3 of all new high school students drop out before graduating? That is so sad. A 6 year shorter life span for high school dropouts! Average starting salary of $19,000 dollars for a dropout! How is that a good choice for our young people to make?

A high school graduate gets $28,000 per year as a starting salary. And college graduates are getting $50,000 per year to start. Clearly we need to help our children understand what a poor choice dropping out is. We can begin by spreading the word about this book right now!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

about the author of Finish High School ... Jacob Vincent Heimark

Here is a link to Jacob Vincent Heimark's USNA biography. And here is a link to the Arlington Memorial Website press announcement of his interment at Arlington. And a photo at the interment on 4/15/2004.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

a review- quick and to the point it is!

Here is one review of the book that I "extracted" from the Amazon web site. Now if I could just track down "Jake F. Heimark" so I could ask him to write a more comprehensive review!

Friday, July 28, 2006

front cover of book

This was the only book that dad wrote. But boy, was he ever proud of it! And he should have been!!

There are several cases that we know of where this book convinced a prospective drop out to continue on. Bravo to them. Look for us to post their stories here.

June, Marta, Doug, Chris.

back cover of the book

Click on image to see detail.