Larry Platt ’68 learned many lessons at Brother Rice and while founding and developing an international company, RQA. Among these many lessons, he learned that there have been many good people who have helped him along the way and he is glad to pay forward some of the rewards his hard work and intelligent risks have earned for him. He has also learned that many brilliant scientists and technicians have trouble expressing themselves in writing.
In 2003, Larry decided to combine what he learned from these lessons to inspire students at his high school alma mater. The timing was also inspiring, as Larry was ahead of the curve of ACT and various school districts demanding more evaluation of student writing. Brother Rice was already five years into an expanded emphasis on writing skills, including a semester of concentrated composition and essay writing for sophomores.
So Alumni Director Jim Casey ’70, collaborating with Larry, his wife and business partner Mary Ann, former English Department Chair Jean Searls, and English teachers Eve Donnelly and Michelle England agreed that the end of sophomore year was the best time to host the First Larry Platt Essay Contest.
Since then, 656 sophomores have competed for 89 prizes, worth $142,700 in tuition scholarships for junior and senior year, along with 55 bookstore gift certificates worth $100 each for Honorable Mention winners. In order to highlight the widespread impact the contest has had on winners, their names are listed below. But this impact has spread to every student, as Larry and brother Bill ’69 personally visit every sophomore English class to introduce the contest, to inspire current students to be better writers, by offering a chance to significantly reduce the cost of their tuition.
Throughout those ten years, Larry, Mary Ann, and other Platt family members have hosted the parents and top winners for a special dinner to honor their achievements and to extend personal invitations to seek summer internships at RQA headquarters in Darien or at the Orland Park division of Product Dynamics, which has since become the headquarters.
Thanks to their generous gifts of time, talent, and treasure, Larry and his family have become essential partners in educating former, current, and future Crusaders, while inspiring them to also remember to pay forward some of their future rewards.