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September 30, 2006 - The Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a sure bet!

What: Viva Las Vegas – 11th Annual Fiesta Colorado

Where: Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center

When: Saturday, September 30, 2006

Time: Reception & silent auction 5:30 p.m., dinner & program 7:00 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Table (Member): $1,200

Beneficiary: Hispanic Education Foundation

Host(s): Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation

Mistress of Ceremonies: Anita Lopez, On Air Personality/Coldwell Banker

Master of Ceremonies: Luis Canela, Univision Colorado

Honoree(s): Excellence in Education by an Individual: Sister Jean Panisko from Annunciation School, Excellence in Education: Por Tu Familia Program by the American Diabetes Association

Presenting Sponsor(s): Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation

Gala Chairperson(s): Jane Clift, Director of Business to Business, John Elway Auto Nation

Honorary Chairperson(s): Superintendent Michael Bennet, Denver Public Schools and Brian Fuentes, Colorado Rockies All-Star Pitcher

Committee Members: HCEF Committee: Chair Luis Colon (City & County of Denver), Ric Padilla (Qwest Communications), Denise Maes (Berenbaum, Weinshienk, Eason, PC), L.G. Chavez (Burt Automotive Network), Maria Isquierdo (Swedish Medical Center)

Staff: Jeff Campos, Stephen Hazel, Ann Bayles, Patty Mejia, Danny Martinez, Erika Reyes, Estella Juarez, Renee Sadler, Melissa Rojo and Monica Rodriguez

Invocation: Monsignor Tom Fryar

Welcome: Anita Lopez and Luis Canela

Catering: Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center

Entertainment: Las Vegas Performer Dian Diaz

Sponsors: Bud Light, Diamler Chrysler, Robinson Dairy, MoneyGram, World Wide Money Exchange, Riviera Casino, CH2MHILL, Berenbaum, Weinshienk, Eason, PC, Alpine Buick Pontiac GMC, Alvarado Construction, Burt Automotive Network, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Colorado Rockies, Devry University, Gay & Lesbian Fund of Colorado, Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant, Safeco, Viva Colorado, Entravision and Source One Management

Auctioneer: Anita Lopez and Luis Canela

Gala Production: Jessica Estrada

Menu: Salad: market fresh greens, dates, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, candied pecans, spiced peaches, corn bread croutons, and guava dressing, entrée: cilantro honey glazed breast of chicken filled with black beans, roasted corn, chipotles, napolita-corn salsa, yam-boniato mash, seasonal vegetables, dessert: Dulce de Leche cheesecake tower, berry coulis mosaic, Canella whipped cream and fresh brewed coffee

Attendance: 1,200

Attire: Black Tie

Event Coordinator: Erika Reyes

Board of Directors: Martha Rubi – Chair of the Board, Luis Colon – Chair-Elect of the Board, Jeffrey Campos – President, Tim Padilla – Treasurer, Denise Maes – Secretary, Patricia Barela Rivera, Mario Carrera, Nolbert Chavez, Zee Ferrufino, Faustina Carrasco, L.G. Chavez, Steve DelCastillo, Juan Marcos Gutierrez-Gonzalez, Ismael Guerrero, Christine Johnson, Monique Lovato, Larry Martinez, Don Pacheco, Maria Isquierdo, Craig Keyes, M.D, Alicia V. Mahoney, Keith Montoya, Ric Padilla, Carlos Rocabado, Suzanne Shaw, Tom Salaba and Elizabeth Suarez

Blacktie Photos by: Marcelo Mainzer

 Luis Colon, Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation
Luis Colon, Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation

by Marcelo Mainzer

The Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 11th Annual Fiesta Colorado at the Hyatt Regency in the Colorado Convention Center, Centennial Ballroom. This year the mission was “Recognizing Hispanic Leadership in Education." The theme was “Bienvenidos Viva Las Vegas.” Guests, attired in black ties and gowns, were greeted by staff and volunteers of DHCC including Erika Reyes, Director of Programs & Education Foundation, Volunteers Maria Lana and Estella Juarez, Renee Sadler, Accounting & HR Administrator and Danny Martinez, Director of Business Development.

Guests took cocktails in the spacious lobby outside the ballroom that featured three bars and was decorated a la Las Vegas with banners and huge cards. They bid on hundreds of fantastic silent auction items and mingled with the greats of the past including Marilyn Monroe (Faith O’Halloran) and Elvis (Charles King). Among the “real” celebrities were former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife Wilma, Gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter and his wife Jeannie, Dr. Dean Prina, Seeds of Hope Executive Director Laurie Vieira and her husband Ed Vieira.

At precisely 7 p.m. the doors to the ballroom opened and DHCC members and supporters flowed in and were handed into the capable hands of Hyatt Catering Manager Christian Martinez and Ann Bayles, VP of Marketing/Communications DHCC. When all the 1,200 guests had entered and found their seats, Mistress of Ceremonies Anita Lopez welcomed them all and specifically the sponsors, each of whom she named. As befitting an Hispanic event, Master of Ceremonies Luis Canela made the announcements in Spanish. Luis also introduced Monsignor Tom Fryar, who read the invocation.

Monsignor Fryar was followed on stage by U.S. Army singers "Harmony in Motion" and all rose when they sang inspiring renditions of “God Bless America” and the "Star Spangled Banner.” Luis returned to the podium and on behalf of the HCEF (Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation), thanked honorary co-chair for the event, Colorado Rockies All-Star Pitcher, Brian Fuentes. Although Mr. Fuentes was not able to be there, he addressed the audience via a short video, after which Anita Lopez introduced Michael Bennet, also an honorary co-chair and superintendent of the Denver Public School District.

Mr. Bennet appeared both on film and live and expressed that both he and his wife Susan Daggat “are exceedingly honored to be here tonight.” On behalf of the Mayor, Mr. Bennet thanked the DHCC for their endorsement of ballot initiative 1A, the preschool initiative. Mr. Bennet also praised Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter on his campaign, calling it “a wonderful positive message for the people of Colorado." Michael congratulated the ten young men and women who would be honored, saying “their hard work and sacrifice is an inspiration”. He specially pointed out DPS Lincoln High graduate Leslie Valero, “who’s currently attending Regis University, and we are very proud of her.”

Superintendent Bennet said “We all have a stake in this," and said “the state of our public schools will be reflected in future of our community.” He said, “We’re working with communities across our city to prepare more students for college and to spread the message that your child can have a brighter tomorrow.” He closed by raising a toast “to our children, to our city, to our future, a nuetros hijos a nuetra ciudad y nuestros futuros.”

Anita then introduced the Chair of the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation. Luis Colón, who is also Manager of General Services for the City and County of Denver. Mr. Colón began: “Gracias por acompañarnos en este dia tan especial. Thank you all for joining us on such a special day.” He continued “We have a lot of plans this coming year and I will look to all of you for your support.” And, “Last year, we provided four scholarships to deserving students in Denver’s Hispanic Community. This year, the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation is proud to award 10 new scholarships and five renewing. On behalf of the board of directors, I congratulate our scholarship recipients as well as our Excellence in Education Award winners and thank you for being here tonight."

To recognize the scholarship recipients and the sponsors, Luis Canela invited Tom Salaba, Vice President and General Manager for Anheuser Busch, to the dance floor. The presenters and recipients were: Yvette Dominguez, President at Alpine Buick Pontiac GMC, to Stephanie Mora who is attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs; Burt Automotive Network’s L.G. Chavez, to Trevor Lovato who is currently attending Aims Community College in Greeley; Roy Alexander, Executive Director for Colorado Housing Financial Authority, to Leslie Valero, attending Regis University; The Colorado Rockies presenting to Melissa Quezada, who is attending the Community College of Denver; DeVry University’s Cecil Horst, President of DeVry University, to Victoria Hernandez from the University of Colorado at Denver; Viva Colorado’s editor Rowena Alegría, presenting to Andrew Perez, currently attending the University of Colorado at Denver; Carlos Rocabado, President & CEO of Seguros Ideal, Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurants, to Chuck Mills; Alvarado Construction's Judi Diaz Bonacquisti, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Services for Metropolitan State College of Denver also presented.

Scholarship recipients that could not be present included: Jennifer Slauson attending Brigham University, Stephanie Posada attending Syracuse University, Joanna Atencion attending Adams State College, Amy Lynn Kittredge attending Johnson & Wales University, Christina Agustin attending Adams State College and Nancy Arroy, also attending Adams State College

Chairwoman of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Martha Rubi rose to the podium to present Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce employee Monica Rodriguez with a scholarship. Monica is working toward earning her degree in business administration from Metropolitan State College of Denver. The Excellence in Education Award by an Individual was given to Sister Jean Panisko of Annunciation School, where Sister Jean has made her home for the past 25 years. Sister Jean’s work was showcased with a short video and her award was presented by Dan O’Malley, Vice President of the Americas at MoneyGram, and Luis Colon, Chairman of the Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation

The Excellence in Education Award by an Organization went to the Por Tu Familia program by the American Diabetes Association. Also addressing DHCC supporters were Darryl Lyons, Chrysler Jeep Marketing Manager from Daimler Chrysler and Deborah Quintana, President and CEO of World Wide Money Exchange. Closing the evening's awards ceremonies and introducing the entertainment was President and CEO of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Jeff Campos.

The entertainment for the evening included a dazzling performance by Dian Diaz, whose eclectic mix of rock, pop and Latin beats kept the dance floor filled. For those who came for “Viva Las Vegas” there was poker and Blackjack tables as well as craps and roulette.

Gambling may be a game of chance but educating young people to be future leaders is a sure thing.

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