Chuck Rowland’s Perspective on GCCA & TEF

I spent 40 years in my professional life, having clear purpose and direction. For several months after I retired, I no longer had either of those. However, once I became involved in establishing the GCCA and competing for a state grant (and winning), my path became clear which allowed me to leverage my personal experience growing up relatively poor and still succeeding far beyond my expectations. I grew up on a farm, which required me to do my chores before I played or studied. The discipline that required enabled me to set goals and objectives and follow a plan to achieve them, which fit perfectly with the career planning process at GCCA. (The statement at the bottom of each year of each student’s career plan is “The difference between goals and accomplishment is DISCIPLINE.”) Direction, Dedication, and Discipline worked for me, and I strongly feel that the GCCA coaching program provides direction and discipline that will lead dedicated students to success in their careers and life in general.

Chuck Rowland poses with a group of students.
Chuck Rowland (right) is Vice President of Thillen Education Foundation

When I was in middle school, I found an old, torn Boy Scout manual in a trash heap. Although I never had the opportunity to join the Boy Scouts, I learned well the Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” and its importance when opportunities arose. Preparing myself by constantly striving for self-improvement by studying the entire Boy Scouts manual, reading thoroughly Dale Carnegie books, or reading and listening to many other self-help tools, and always doing my best allowed me to take advantage of many opportunities that came my way because of my preparation. GCCA helps students prepare for opportunities they do not even know exist or about which they know little. GCCA expands horizons and understanding of the possibilities for each student, but clearly each student must take much of the responsibility for “preparation.”

The Thillen Education Foundation (TEF) enables “prepared” students to take advantage of opportunities to start careers immediately after high school graduation or pursue higher levels of formal education in a technical school or college. Without the financial assistance provided by TEF, many students would not have the funding needed to pay for more education or buy the tools, supplies, etc. required to enter their careers directly. While loans may be available, we know that far too many students become indebted so much their lives are severely impacted while paying the loans back. TEF’s mission is to give engaged, deserving students a hand up, not a handout, by rewarding those students based on their accomplishments in community service, extracurricular activities at school, part-time work, and demonstrations of their ability to communicate orally and in writing, as well as academics.

Success = Preparation + Opportunity.


Giving Tuesday is November 30th and the Thillen Education Foundation needs your help to give all 450 Greene County High School students a brighter future. Every dollar invested on Giving Tuesday up to $50,000 will be matched by two generous supporters. If you plan to donate to any nonprofit on Giving Tuesday, we kindly ask you to choose the Thillen Education Foundation! Thanks for changing students' lives!

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