Daily Point of Light # 2748 Aug 17, 2004

Robert Olson is a volunteer for the Academy of Finance magnet school program at Clark High School. He recognizes that the nation’s business future is in the hands of the youth so he created an opportunity for all students to have the very best business education possible in the Las Vegas community. Mr. Olson has helped to prepare students for the challenges ahead of them by exposing them to a wealth of business experiences and avenues that are available to them in Las Vegas.

As a Trustee for the Nevada Council on Economic Development, Mr. Olson first learned of the National Academy Foundation and the prospects of starting on similar in Las Vegas. From that moment on, he made it his goal for his unique educational opportunity to be available to high school students in Southern Nevada. He not only wanted the program available, but he wanted it to be exemplary and a model for other academies across the country.

Through Mr. Olson’s tireless efforts, the concept became a reality. Schools nationwide are now looking to the Academy of Finance at Clark High School for advice on how to create an advisory board comprised of business professionals, university professors, community partners, grade-school educators and the entire gamut that would represent the community at large. These members work together to provide internships, mentoring opportunities, scholarships and a course curriculum rich in its business class offering for students.

Mr. Olson started by assembling the Southern Nevada Academy of Finance Board. He recruited on the best- qualified, most committed partners who would be able to bring the financial resources and expertise to get the fledgling project off to an auspicious beginning. Under Mr. Olson’s direction, these business executives, educators and leaders in the public sector brought the National Academy Foundation’s lofty goals to local students and fulfilled a profound need. By 1997, Clark High School welcomed the first students to the new Academy of Finance (AOF).

Through the years that followed, Mr. Olson spent countless hours on campus speaking with students, evaluating curriculum and working with AOF teachers to ensure the objectives of the program were being met. He pounded the pavement to recruit business mentors and to secure internships positions for AOF students. Mr. Olson relentlessly promoted the AOF to the business sector to gain community support.

By 2001, the growth of the program was phenomenal. It was such as success that Mr. Olson promoted the hiring of a Mentor/Internship Coordinator, funded by the Southern Nevada Academy of Finance Board independent of the school district. Mr. Olson remains an active and supportive board member of the AOF today. He continues to work tirelessly bringing students, business executives and educators together to maintain an exemplary community partnership.