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May 11, 2006 - DPSF Educational Celebration and Dinner

Where: Adam's Mark

When: May 11, 2006

Time: 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $250

Beneficiary: Denver Public School Foundation

Mistress of Ceremonies: Anne Trujillo, 7NEWS Anchor

Gala Chairperson(s): Sue and Harvey Allon, Kristin and Blair Richardson

Honorary Chairperson(s): Governor Bill Owens, Mayor John Hickenlooper

Executive Director: Barbara Berv

Speaker: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Sue Allon and Kristin Richardson, Bruce Benson & Theresa Pena and Michael Bennet

Catering: Adam's Mark

Entertainment: Skinner Scorpions Hip Hop Dance Team and the Juggernauts B-Boys, Shayna Goldstein, Denver School of the Arts singing the, “Star Spangled Banner”, Montclair Elementary Saucy Salsa Dancers, East High School Jazz Combo, Greenlee Elementary Scottish Dancers and Abe Lincoln High School Folklorico Dance Group

Sponsors: Marcy and Bruce Benson, Gary-Williams Energy Corporation, Kristin and Blair Richardson, Salazar Family Foundation, Sue & Harvey Allon, Anschutz Corporation, Anschutz Foundation, BTG Family Foundation, Comcast, Alex Cranberg & Susan Morrice, FirstBank, Hogan * Hartson LLP, McClain Finlon Advertising, John * Carrie Morgridge, Angela & Erik Osborn/Osborn Development, Post News Community, ProLogis, Riverfront Park Community Foundation, Rockmont Capital Partners, Beth & Tom Strickland, UMB Bank, Vestar Capital Partners, Excel Energy .

Auctioneer: Michael Bennet, DPS Superintendent

Quote of the evening: “Greatness is never a function of circumstance, but a function of passion and discipline” John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver

Attendance: Approximately 1,000

Attire: Cocktail

Florist: Bouquets

Event Coordinator: Kelli Kindel Events, Inc

Board of Directors: Sue Allon, Michael Bennet, Bruce Benson, Elaine Gantz Berman, Joe Blake, Linda Childears, Cole Finegan, Cathey Finlon, Francisco Garcia, Noel Ginsburg, Bruce Hoyt, Mariner Kemper, Leslie Mitchell, Carrie Morgridge, C. Alan Peppers, Kristin Richardson, Lola A. Salazar, Mark Smith, Tom Strickland, Edward P. Timmins and Ronald Williams

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 Denver Public School Superintendents Michael Bennet, left, and Jerry Wartgow, retired
Denver Public School Superintendents Michael Bennet, left, and Jerry Wartgow, retired

Marcelo Mainzer

To know that the people of Denver support their schools, all one has to do is attend a Denver Public School Foundation event. On Thursday, May 11th the DPS Foundation, with the help of the community again put on another huge, and hugely successful event.

The Adams Mark Denver provided the venue for the event and the spacious downstairs lobby, outside the Grand Ballroom, barely fit all the people in attendance for the Cocktail Reception and Silent Auction.

While perusing a fantastic selection of auction items, guests were delighted and entertained by students from the school district. Barney Ford Elementary School gave a fast paced demonstration of Cup Staking, Skinner Middle School Scorpion Theatre Company provided a classical thespian performance; El Mariachi Juvenil de Bryant-Webster again performed magnifico! And for the more intellectual, Bryant-Webster K-8 Chess Club was on hand.

With the flickering of lights DPS supporters were invited into the ballroom and Mistress of Ceremonies Ann Trujillo of 7News, had her hands full getting the animated crowd to take their seats. When they did, Ann greeted them and asked them to recognize some of the sponsors for the event.

Ann Trujillo, continuing her job as Emcee, introduced Co-Chairs Sue Allon and Kristen Richardson.  Kirsten began by thanking each of their husbands Blair Richardson and Harvey Allon. They alternately listed some accomplishments of the event, which included an attendance of over 900 supporters and an expected $700,000 to be raised for Denver Public School Programs.

Sue and Kristen were followed on stage by Theresa Peña, Board of Education President and DPS Foundation Board Chair Bruce Benson, where they reported on the state of the DPS. Bruce congratulated supporters and Gala Chairs on setting a record for most attendance and dollars raised by a DPS Foundation event; Bruce called for a round of applause for them. Bruce also called for acknowledgement of Karen Kennedy, Kirstin Gerety and Barbara Berv.

Theresa rose and thanked her fellow Board Members. “For all the work that you do, on behalf of the families and students of Denver.”   She also thanked past board members and Donna Shocks, Manager of Nursing Services for Denver Public Schools, named the 2006 "School Nurse Administrator of the Year."  And Joe Ortega of Grant Elementary School, awarded the prestigious "Nurse of the Year" title from the Colorado Association of School Nurses, Dr. Irma Anthony winner of the “Robert L. Hawkins Social Work Achievement Award” and Jennifer Wilson, from Grant Ranch, honored with the 2006 “Disney Teacher of the Year Award.”

“Theresa and I are here to tell you how the DPS Board and Foundation work together to help our students,” said Bruce.  He pointed out that the revenue raised by the Public School Foundation rose from $400,000 in 2002 to nearly five million in 2005. Bruce said, “That’s due to the successful relationship between all of you, the individual, businesses, local foundation and community leaders.”  He continued, “In 2006 we’re going to beat that number, so I appreciate all of what all of you are doing.” 

Bruce named just one of the many programs funded by the DPS Foundation “Lights on After School,” an after school program for elementary and middle school children that focuses on Art, Academic Leadership and Recreation.  Bruce credited the success to “people like you and our partners, Mile High United Way, The Mayors Office of Education and Children, as well as DPS Department of Extended Learning, so thank you all very much.”

Following Theresa and Bruce was Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who was brought to the stage with the theme song from “Rocky;” and he joked, “Often when they play that music I get confused with Sylvester Stallone!”

The Mayor thanked many of the people who organized the event saying, “I know how much work it is to get the people to see the vision and then to do all the logistical work that makes a meeting like this the success that it is.”  Mayor Hickenlooper talked about the importance of community engagement in education. “Part of that is getting people to believe, and we have so much to believe in.”  He went on to say, “We know what has to be done” and continued, “The signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency, meaning trying one thing then the other.”  The Mayor went on to say, “What Michael and his team are doing, and the whole community with them, in creating the Denver Plan, is consistency.”

“You need discipline and consistency over the long term to succeed at anything,” the Mayor continued.  “We now have and have had for a long time a group of disciplined people who are turning disciplined thoughts into disciplined actions.”  The Mayor pointed out, “A great thing about the Denver Plan is that it tracks students development, not just once a year, as CSATs do, “but on a monthly and even weekly basis.” John Hickenlooper said, “We need to begin looking at achievement for classroom, achievement for teachers and achievement for students.” The Mayor encouraged supporters to hold to a higher standard and give the board and Superintendent of Schools the support they need.

In introducing the Superintendent of Schools, Michael Bennet, the Mayor paraphrased, Aristotle saying ‘Friendship is two bodies with a shared spirit’ and he continued, “we have always shared that spirit, that belief that education is one of the most important things that we can all do.’” Mayor Hickenlooper praised former Superintendent Jerry Wartgow and the school board for “creating a platform, an opportunity to move forward.” The Mayor concluded, “Greatness is never a function of circumstance, but a function of passion and discipline” and he described Michael Bennet as one of the most passionate and disciplined people he knows.

Superintendent Bennet first voiced his gratitude to Mayor Hickenlooper then to Co-Chairs Sue Allon and Kristen Richardson, “Your leadership on this has been extraordinary.”  He continued, “Thank you to everyone for the support of the team we have begun to assemble, it’s a team I am extremely proud of.”  Michael also took the opportunity to introduce his wife Susan Daggatt and acknowledge his predecessor, Jerry Wartgow saying, “Without whose leadership we wouldn’t be here.” referring to his work with the DPS Foundation.

Later Superintendent Bennet said, “The thing that has sustained me in this job, has been pictures I have carried in my head of the people that I meet, in our district, who are relentless in what they are trying to do.”  

Mr. Bennet then went on to speak of some of those people who were sitting at his table, as examples. Michael named Antwan Wilson, the Principal of Montebello High School, Shannon Hagerman of Montclair Elementary, Michael Palmieri, a teacher a Manual High School, Antonia Castorena a student of North High School, Jessica Buckley and Rene Wilson from Carrington Elementary, and Lisa Yemma a teacher at Bruce Randolph Middle School.

Michael said, “Its these people and other people I have met across the district who tell me, that we don’t face an intractable problem, that it can be solved.” The Superintendent went on to say, “These people, every last one, are revolutionaries, they see the future and they’re offering all of us the gift of new eyes.”

“New Eyes”, he continued, “to see the full potential of every child in this district, new eyes to see a path through snares that threaten to entangles us, new eyes that look forward not back, to see the glistening sunlight for what it is, a glorious invitation to greatness, for Denver and her children. On behalf of the children of the Denver Public Schools, I beg you to accept their precious gift and support the hundreds of other people in this district who see what they see. Together we can turn those hundreds into thousands and throughout Denver into tens of thousands, of people relentlessly committed to our children and their future.”

Denver School Superintendent Bennet conclude, “We can get there but we can’t do it without you.  We need your hope, your faith and your will, we need your love for everyone of Denver’s children. Thank you for supporting the Children of Denver Public Schools.”

Throughout the evening guest were treated to amazing performances by students from the district including the Skinner Scorpions Hip Hop Dance Team & Juggernauts B-Boys, the Greenlee Elementary Scottish Dances and the Abraham Lincoln High School Folklorico Dance Group.

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