Grovel Alert: 2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon

Dak Prescott (AP Photo)

Ben Lange (File photo)

Unlike former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott hasn’t exactly been making the speaking rounds.  Perhaps that’s why Wednesday’s “2nd Annual Rising Stars Luncheon” benefiting After-School All-Stars North Texas is nearing SRO status at the Dallas Country Club.

According to ASAS North Texas Board Chair Ben Lange, the fundraiser that will have Brad “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Sham interviewing the football wunderkind is within one or two tables of selling out.

Nancy Rogers and Gina Betts (File photo)

Chaired by Gina Betts, the fund raiser is being presented by Nancy C. and Richard Rogers.

One of the surprises for organizers has been the number of papa and mama bears who are bringing their kids to the luncheon. Seems that the recent show of munchkins attending The Jonathan’s Place’s “A Chance to Soar” with featured speaker Simone Biles has caught on. Makes sense. Such events provide an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to role models.

Consider this news to be a “last call” shout-out, so get one of those last spots now by emailing  Liz Arrington or calling her at 469.330.4970.

World-Class Sprinter Michael Johnson Tells Of His Own Personal “After-School All-Star”

Newlyweds D’Andra Simmons Lock and Jeremy Lock opened their home for the After-School All-Stars North Texas annual benefit with guests spilling out the front door.

Jeremy Lock, D'Andra Simmons Lock and Michael Johnson

Jeremy Lock and D’Andra Simmons Lock and Michael Johnson

But what would one expect when Event Co-Chairs Kersten Rettig and Clark Knippers arranged to have native son/sports hero Michael Johnson as the keynote speaker. Despite having won four Olympic Gold medals and eight World Championship Gold medals, the 46-year-old retired sprinter and entrepreneur stood on the staircase landing and told of his early life in Oak Cliff. The youngest of five children, he admitted that unlike his classmates, his mother didn’t work and ended up inviting kids over to their home after school. He joked that there had been times when he wished that his mother had worked. But in his eyes, she was an “after-school all-star herself.”

As a result he places a high priority on kids having a place and a purpose after they have left their classrooms. That was why he got involved with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s After-School All-Stars program “because of the absolute need for disadvantaged young people to be matched with mentors.”

Joining Michael to emphasize the importance of the Dallas program were ASAS Board Chair Phil Terry and National Network of ASAS Executive VP Aaron Dworkin, who said, “We try to close the opportunity gap.”

Ciara Cooley and Clay Cooley

Ciara Cooley and Clay Cooley

In the crowd were Event Sponsor Clay Cooley with his daughter Ciara Cooley, Connor Cook, McKenna Cook, Lynn McBee, Betsy Orton and Debra Witter.

Michael’s talk and presence plus an anonymous matching donation allowed the event to raise enough money “to send more than 40 students to ASAS’s CampUS program in North Texas that helps rising 9th graders bridge the gap between middle and high school by giving students the opportunity to live, learn and walk on a college campus — fully immersing them in the college experience.”

Change Of Plans: After-School, All-Stars Party

Kersten Rettig and Clark Knippers (File photo)

Kersten Rettig and Clark Knippers (File photo)

Michael Johnson is a very cool dude. But you already knew that. He’s a hunky Four-Star Olympian, a Baylor Bear and all-around good guy. But he’s also a fellow in great demand. For that reason, After-School All-Stars North Texas Party Co-Chair Kersten Rettig and hubby Clark Knippers had to accommodate Michael’s schedule. So, there’s been a change of date taken place.

What’s the new date? That will come in a sentence or two. The purpose of the event, which is (our favorite word) “Free”, is to “learn more about ASAS and the incredible programming we provide at-risk middle schoolers in Dallas.”

Ok, you’ve waited long enough. The event takes place Tuesday, May 13, instead of Wednesday, May 14. Where? Ah, you’ll have to sign up for that info.

Pitch Your Nonprofit: After-School All-Stars North Texas

Betsy Orton*

According to After-School All-Stars North Texas Executive Director Betsy Orton,

“What was your favorite after-school activity when you were growing up? Art? Dance? Theater? Sports?

“At After-School All-Stars North Texas, we make it possible for low-income and at-risk students to have engaging after-school education and enrichment programs. Our school-based program means that students never have to make a decision whether or not to go to their after-school program and it means that your donation goes toward programming rather than capital expenses. In Dallas County alone, more than 100,000 children between the ages of 5 and 13 are without adult supervision outside of the home after school. While there are numerous programs that support elementary or high school students, middle school students, who are in vulnerable and impressionable years, often slip through the cracks. After-School All-Stars focuses on helping these middle schoolers.

“Our goal is to identify and fuel our student’s individual passions by tying their interests to tailored academic support, enrichment activities and sports. By creating lasting relationships with our students and incorporating service learning, we equip our All-Stars with the confidence and skills to become productive members of their community. After-School All-Stars gives its students a safe-haven during the “danger zone” hours of 3pm-6pm – the time of day when youth violence, drug use, and other delinquent behaviors are mostly likely to occur. We provide effective and thoughtful supports to fight against the high school drop-out and obesity crises and to ready our students for fulfilling careers in the modern workforce.

“Please donate today at

-Betsy Orton

* Graphic provided by After-School All-Stars North Texas