Former teacher and real-estate developer John Corcoran spent the first 48 years of his life cheating, lying and stealing to cover up one dirty secret: He couldn't read. When Corcoran finally decided to come clean, he gave a heartfelt speech to the San Diego Council on Literacy:
"I'm a university graduate," he began, "with a bachelor's degree in education and business administration and over 90 additional graduate units. I attended school for 35 years, half of them as a professional educator. In acquiring these experiences, I could not read a textbook or write the answer to an essay question. This is the first public acknowledgment that I have ever made, that I have been a functional illiterate for almost 50 years."
Now, Corcoran is a published author, a member of the National Literacy Board and founder of the John Corcoran Foundation who travels the country giving lectures on his journey. On Friday, Feb. 5, Corcoran heads to Boise to speak at the Learning Lab's annual Lunch for Literacy fundraiser. In addition to Corcoran's speech, attendees will also hear from a local student who has overcome illiteracy with the help of Learning Lab, a Boise nonprofit that aims to enhance the literacy skills of under-educated families and adults. In addition to lunch, there will be a silent auction featuring first-edition signed books and themed gift baskets.
Friday, Feb. 5, 11 a.m. auction, noon lunch, $50, Boise Centre on the Grove, 208-344-1335, learninglabinc.org.