Probably the biggest academic influence on my life in high school, and well beyond, for that matter, came from my involvemnet in what was then called the Free Enterprise Education Center...The center was founded by Rolland Storey, a retired businessman and motivational speaker who ahd worked at Houston Natural Gas,
Mr. Storey was a short, impish man, balding with wisps of white hair. He was charming and irascible, reminiscent of commentator Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes. He also was one of the most gifted natural speakers I've ever seen...
Students were requires to prepare a twenty-minute speech...after reading a curriculum of economic fundamentals including the works of Milton Friedman, Friedrich A. Hayek, Adam Smith, Frederick Bastiat, and Ludwig von Mises.
This was my first systematic exposure to free-market tenets, and it became the intellectual foundation for many of the ideas I instinctively believed; first and foremost that the greatest engine of prosperity and opportunity the world has ever seen has been the American free enterprise system.