The Mechanical Engineering Club's first project was simple electrical board game. I challenged my students to create a game that lights up a bulb when a match is made between two items in the game (for example, an organ in the human body and its name). To accomplish this, each student had to both research the topic he'd chosen for his game, and figure out the necessary mechanics. As they worked, I discovered that my students were motivated to learn more engineering terms than were required -- current and voltage, electrons and electrical loads.
These leaders show just how much it will take to make a meaningful difference for the most-marginalized children. Success will require more than single interventions like giving children tablets, or providing teachers with better curriculums -- these steps may be part of the solution, but they are just one piece of what must be a holistic approach.
In five months, my life shifted drastically. I exchanged my beloved students, the chalk and the noisy halls of a public school in Barcelona for elevator pitches with business angels in Palo Alto.