the need to reverse the rising dropout rate and assist high school
students, in April of 1988, Orlando Mayor Bill Frederick
called upon a group of leaders to go beyond just an examination
of the problem and to take it a step further to developing a program
that would "promote opportunity for all of our youth - especially
the less advantaged - to become productive members and part of the
mainstream of the Orlando Community."
This group became the Mayor's Commission on Youth Opportunities,
and quickly resolved to approach the challenges through a broad-based
effort involving Orange County Public Schools, private businesses,
government and the Greater Orlando Chamber of Commerce.
April 4, 1989, the Orlando/Orange County COMPACT Program became
a reality. It officially began with a pilot program of 14 students
at Jones High School, mentored by 13 professionals from Coopers
& Lybrand and AT&T District Manager A. George Fuller. In
February 1994, Mr. Fuller became the third Executive Director of
COMPACT when he became a loaned executive from AT&T. Upon his
retirement in May, 1994, he was hired by OCPS to resume duties as
the director of COMPACT.
Since its' inception in 1989, COMPACT has served more than 10,000
students. For the 2007-2008 school year, it is operational at 13
school sites:Citrus Elementary,Colonial 9th Grade Center, Dr. Phillips High School, Gateway School,
Jones High School, Life Skills Center, Memorial Middle School, Mollie Ray Elementary School,
Oakridge High School, Orange Center Elementary School, Robert Hungerford Prep High School,
Three Points Elementary School, and Timber Creek High School.
Two main events highlight the year for COMPACT: the Annual Washington
D.C. Cultural and Educational Trip and the "Salute to COMPACT"
Awards Banquet. The Washington D.C. Trip, a week long once-in-a-lifetime
excursion to our nations' capital has been conducted annually since
1992 for approximately 20 special achieving COMPACT students. These
students are winners of a year long competition emphasizing good
grades, attendance and behavior, community service; as well as written
and verbal skills. Since entering into office, Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas has met with the COMPACT group every year. The group
also has had the opportunity to meet with many other government,
military and international officials.
Salute to COMPACT Awards Banquet was originated in 1995 by the inspiration
and leadership of James
Etscorn of Baker
& Hostetler, LLP., a past chairperson of the COMPACT Board
of Directors. The event is held each fall and serves to recognize
outstanding COMPACT students, parents, mentors, teachers, administrators
and business partners. It is hosted annually by Baker and Hostetler
with corporate sponsorships and support from a number of other businesses.
COMPACT has continued to respond to former Mayor Bill Frederick's
challenge and is, indeed, helping less advantaged youth on the journey
to become productive mainstream citizens.