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May 12, 2005 - A Celebration of Denver Public Schools

What: A tribute to Superintendent Dr. Jerry Wartgow

Where: Adam's Mark

When: May 12, 2005

Ticket Prices: $250 individual

Beneficiary: Denver Public Schools Foundation

Host(s): Bruce Benson

Honoree(s): Jerry Wartgow, Outgoing Superintendent

Honorary Chairperson(s): Mayor John Hickenlooper

Co-Chair(s): Marcy & Bruce Benson, Elaine Gantz Berman & Steve Berman

Executive Director: Steve Katich; President

Co-President(s): Steve Katich; President

Staff: Karen Kennedy, Executive Vice President; Kirstin Gerety, Director of Marketing and Communications; Catherine Barnes, Development Associate

Speaker: Bruce Benson, Elaine Gantz Berman, Governor Bill Owens, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Dr. Jerry Wartgow

Music: El Mariachi Juvenil,Denison Strings,Grupo Folkorico Infantil,DSA Jazz Combo,N. HS HipHop,CityWideMB

Sponsors: Town & Country Credit, Bruce and Marcy Benson, Mile High United a Way, Elaine Gantz Berman and Steve Berman, Denver Nuggets Community Fund, Salazar Family Foundation, Kristin & Blair Richardson, Colorado Avalanche Foundation, Rose Community Foundation, Mayors Office for Education and Children, Daniels Fund, Denver Broncos Charity Fund and The McCormick Tribune Foundation

Gala Production: Ira Bigelow

Attendance: 1,200

Attire: Cocktail

Special Thanks: Adam's Mark Hotel, Graphic Design, Kendall Printing Jennifer Malchiodi, Cherry Creek North DC Design, DES International, McCoy Video Productions, DW Mail LLC, Excel Press, Rainbow Rewards Merchants, Mark Stevens Video Production, Kent Gloassman, and Tewell Warren Printing

Donors: A Cast of Hundreds

Event Coordinator: Catherine Barnes and Kristin Gerety

Board of Directors: Bruce Benson, Elaine Gantz Berman, Sue Allon, Joseph B. Blake, Linda Childears , Carrie Morgridge, Cathey Finlon, C. Alan Peppers, Cole Finegan, Esq., Kristin Richardson, Noel Ginsburg, Lola Salazar, Allegra “Happy” Haynes, Mark Smith, Steve Katich, Thomas L. Strickland, Esq., Tim Marquez, Edward P. Timmins, Esq., Mariner Kemper, Jerry Wartgow, Ph.D., Leslie Mitchell and Ronald Williams

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 The Dance of Learning
The Dance of Learning

Marcelo Mainzer

Inside the grand ballroom at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Denver, over 1,100 DPS employees and community dignitaries, including Governor Bill Owens and Mayor Hickenlooper, gathered for the 2005 Annual Celebration of Denver Public Schools. Since its inception three years ago, the annual event has generated tremendous support and continues to grow every year. The 2005 gala was no exception as it captured a sell out crowd and raised more than $1.2 million for the DPS Foundation. Every year, the event is designed to celebrate all the wonderful achievements of DPS students and teachers as well as district accomplishments during that particular school year. This year’s event was slightly unique as it also paid tribute to outgoing Superintendent Jerry Wartgow, resulting in an evening filled with kind words, humorous stories, and many memories of a man regarded as one of public education’s greatest leaders. Gala Chairpersons Bruce Benson and Elaine Gantz Berman did a remarkable job honoring Wartgow, surprising him with a video highlighting key moments throughout his career and publicly announcing a $.5 million tribute fund in his name. “Jerry, you really wanted to make a difference, and you did!” said Berman. Benson and Berman were two of many to share their sincere appreciation of Wartgow. Both Governor Bill Owens and Mayor John Hickenlooper took turns at the podium, sharing personal stories and humorous anecdotes of Wartgow’s four-year tenure. Owens confessed, “there is no more challenging position in public administration then being the superintendent of a large urban school district. Thanks to Jerry, the school board, and the teachers, we can ensure that the next generation continues to enjoy the same level of education as the last”. Hickenlooper further added, “Jerry is a man who has a larger vision and for every suggestion I had, Jerry already had the next step in mind”. Following the tribute, Superintendent Wartgow delivered a passionate speech from the heart, using no notes. He urged Denver Public Schools and the community at large to stop focusing so much on the "forest" and to spend more time and care with "the trees" (aka- the students). "It is I who should be thanking you," said Superintendent Wartgow. "You have given me your unwavering support and encouragement during an incredible fifty month journey that has been nothing less than the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my life." The evening would not have been complete without the festive student performances which included Citywide Marching Band, Denison String Tour Ensemble, Denver Schools of the Arts Jazz Workshop Combo, El Mariachi Juvenil de Bryant Webster, Grupo Folklorico Infantil Viva Mexico, and North High School Hip Hop Troup. Each group provided upbeat entertainment and added charm and merriment throughout the entire dinner. Adding to the over ambience was the DPS Foundation's new and colorful logo containing a group of children leaping and dancing with joy. It was an image that brightened the ballroom and matched the overall energy and enthusiasm of all those who attended. The logo was even delicately stitched on the back of hundreds of DPS baseball caps and distributed as gifts to all attendees as a way for them to remember this special evening.

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