"Star Wars" director George Lucas and former secretary of state Colin Powell are both education activists and appeared together Tuesday to conclude the Building a Grad Nation Summit at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Before getting to the meat of his speech, Powell, a founding chairman of the America's Promise Alliance, the event's sponsor, had some business to attend to.
He would like a lightsaber, thank you very much.
Powell began by mentioning, fondly, a trip he once took to visit Lucas at Skywalker Ranch. "This is where all this creative geniuses are kept...in dark rooms," Powell laughed. "It was back there where I saw them playing with the lightsabers, do you remember the lightsabers?...and it was so fascinating to have these lightsabers displayed for me."
Then Powell went in for the kill. "In fact, this morning I went online to see if you could buy a light saber and you can, and it's beautiful, but it was $286," he said. "I said to myself, 'I know George, he'll give me one.' Where is it George? No?"
Alas, no light saber for Powell, but Lucas did tell the audience what inspired him to form Edutopia, The George Lucas Educational Foundation, which culls the best teaching methods from around the country and disseminates them nationally.
"I was at a city school...and I didn't learn much and I didn't like it much and I didn't get good grades, it didn't fit me and it didn't fit the way I think," Lucas said. That all changed when he went to junior college. "[I] went on to find out that, low and behold, something impossible to believe — they actually teach you how to make movies in school," he explained. "I found my passion and took off like a rocket."