LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Robert Curlee wasn't a major industrialist or a wealthy hedge fund CEO. He was just a guy who served his country for a few years in Vietnam, then served his local school system for a few more.
"I'm just a stickler for education, I'm a stickler for knowledge, I just am," he says with conviction.
And he decided to act on that when he saw some students in an academic competition.
"I was just fascinated, so I went out to my car, popped the trunk, got my checkbook and wrote the first an second place students a $100 check," Curlee says.
No small thing to the students in Lexington City Schools.
"Incentives are powerful things. To know that you might get a reward of maybe $200, that's a powerful thing," says Cheryl Eberhart.
Everhart helped run the program and saw its effect on the kids.
"They're beginning to see themselves as people who can be more than they realized they could be," she notes.
Assistant Superintendent Emy Garrett has seen effect too.
"He puts his money where his mouth is," says Garrett. "He cares about these children, deeply. He's one of the finest people I've had the pleasure of knowing."
See how much money Robert Curlee has donated to run the Jacket Academic Boosters, in this edition of the Buckley Report.