Bank of America Spotlight: Bob Cook

Throughout the month of April, we’re partnering with Bank of America to Stock Our Shelves. We’ll be featuring Bank of America employees, talking about school, supplies, and some of the key areas in our Free Store: “Basics,” “Math and Science,” “Reading and Writing,” and “Arts.” Read on, then head on over to Stock Our Shelves to donate and learn more.

BoA-Bob-CookWhat’s your name and role at Bank of America?
My name is Bob Cook and I am Senior Client Manager in Business Banking with Bank of America. I’m excited that Schoolhouse Supplies is a fun and tangible way that allows us all to support those who support our neediest students. We know that everything we donate goes straight into the little hands that we intended and that the people distributing the supplies know where they will make the most beneficial difference in a child’s education and attitude towards school.

What was your favorite subject in school, and how does it (or doesn’t it) relate to what you do today?
As a young child I loved Social Studies. I enjoyed learning about how people lived their lives and why. And how they adapted and evolved based upon their environment and discoveries. I later learned that part of that interest was the style of teaching employed in those subjects. It was story-telling, thought-provoking, what-if and why discussions. There were a fair amount of facts and dates but they were reference points that helped me to follow the story. I’d compare that to Spanish in high school; where I spent four semesters trying to memorize conjugated verbs that had little meaning to me other than wanting to be able to repeat them long enough to take a test.

Later I learned that while I appreciated being able to “balance” in Accounting and that there was a right answer; I enjoyed more of the Finance aspect of business which is: now that we know the what, what is the why and how? What could be next? I still greatly enjoy the stories, adaptations and specializations that make up the successful people and organizations of my business clientele.

What’s were the school supplies you simply couldn’t live without when you were in school?
My favorite school supplies were always the compass and protractor. First of all, they always went together like milk and cookies, number two pencil and Scantron, and field trip and free dress (for those of us who wore uniforms to school!). They seemed old-world yet timeless and a little dangerous. The other good thing was that they required the zip-lock type plastic zipper pouch the clicked into your three-ring binder. Overall, I think the greatest memory was the that I was starting out organized!  That fleeting feeling never lasted, and still doesn’t, but the potential is still memorizing.

What do you love about school supplies?
My favorite school supply for kids is probably the backpack and then schedule organizers.  The backpacks mostly because they rarely use their high school or junior high school lockers. Part of the reason is the size of the school and the time of the passing periods and part of it is block scheduling and variable schedule. While I went to the same classes, at the same time, everyday, my eighth grader never has the same schedule within the same week. It makes it difficult to get into a routine of getting to school, going to your locker, getting books for period one and two, migrating to class, going past the locker at break, dropping off and picking up the right books: wash, rinse, repeat.

He takes most of his books with him most of the time (except for math where the book in online!). Take a look at the size and technology of the backpacks on these kids. My kids laugh when I refer to it as a book bag – it is a backpack now because of the weight it needs to carry. I’d like every junior high student to have a backpack solid enough to get them through a couple of years of locker-less, urban hallway backpacking.

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