Cristo Rey Dallas’ “Grow The Grove” Boasted Cheerleaders, Live Auction, Dinner And Student Panel Discussion On Protecting The Dream

Whether it’s “Draft Day” or a sporting event, the Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory School students and supporters always have enthusiasm, commitment and, of course, cheerleaders. Thanks to Co-Chairs Muffin Lemak and Susan Palma and Honorary Co-Chairs Mary and Mike Terry, those ingredients were on hand for the school’s fundraiser “Grow The Grove” at sixty five hundred on Friday, November 17.

Oh, why was it called “Grow the Grove”? Silly! Because the school that is located in Pleasant Grove. Here’s a report from the field:

Mary and Mike Terry*

Susan Jenevein, Susan Palma and Muffin Lemak*

Attendees of the 2nd annual Grow the Grove arrived to a pep-rally style welcome by Cristo Rey Dallas cheerleaders on Friday, November 17. Honorary Co-Chairs Mary and Mike Terry and Event Co-Chairs Muffin and John Lemak and Susan and Gene Palma, were joined by supporters at venue sixty five hundred for the sold-out fundraiser benefitting Cristo Rey Dallas, an innovative high school located in Pleasant Grove that offers students who would otherwise not consider private school a rigorous college prep education paired with a valuable work study program.

Once inside, partygoers mingled over wine, courtesy of Coquerel Family Wine Estates, signature cocktails, including the “ACT ace,” and light bites of wrapped apricots, Parmesan cheese tarts and crab cakes, while enjoying the sounds of the Cristo Rey student musicians under the direction of music teacher Dr. Alex Fraile.

Around the room, students showcased some of the school’s curriculum through interactive activities, including art students working on current art projects using acrylics and charcoal; a Theology Smackdown, in which students and guests, including guest participant Father Joshua Whitfield from St. Rita Catholic Church, competed with each other to get the right answer on questions that CRD students know from their theology coursework; and science demonstrations featuring an extraction of DNA from strawberries; using a universal indicator to show how dry ice goes from a base to an acid as it melts; and the use of a Van de Graaff generator to show how guest’s hair became electrified.

Cristo Rey cheerleaders*

At that appointed time, the cheerleaders made their way through the crowd leading guests to the dining area to be seated. Co-chairs Susan and Muffin took the stage to welcome attendees and thank them for the support of this year’s Grow the Grove. They then asked everyone to hold up the Cristo Rey Rules rulers, that they had placed at each place setting, and to please repeat after them: “I promise that I will try to win the good behavior award by not disturbing my neighbors and table mates. And I will bid high on these fabulous auction items tonight.” Student Ryan Olson followed to ask everyone to join him and his fellow students, who were surrounding the stage, in prayer. Olson then welcomed guests and added his thanks for their support of Cristo Rey Dallas.

Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows*

Scott and Laura Moore and Gunnar Rawlings*

Claire Straty and Steve and Laurie-Jo Straty*

Ellie Lemak and John Karigan*

Guests including Donna Woodard, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Pam and Vin Perella, Christie Carter, Micki and Mayor Mike Rawlings, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows, Shelby Wagner, Julie Hawes, Liesl and Karl Kuby, Beth and Chuck Thoele, Leisa Street, Mersina Stubbs, Ginny and Randy Bailey, Ron Corning, Jonathan Moon, Suzy and Larry Gekiere, Shelle and Michael Sills, Debbie Tolleson, Laurie-Jo and Steve Straty, Janie and David Condon and Melinda and Steve Winn enjoyed their first course of a classic wedge salad with a Texas-sized garlic crouton and buttermilk herb yogurt dressing followed by an entrée of petite filet of beef with foraged mushroom demi, mashed potatoes with garlic and herb butter and roasted rainbow of carrots and parsnips, while listening to the sounds of Billy Joel, a hint for one of the highly-anticipated live auction packages.

Craig and Martha Burkert and Janet and Crawford Brock*

Ron Corning and Jonathan Moon*

Kelby and Donna Woodard*

As a trio of desserts was served, Olson returned to introduce Cristo Rey Dallas President Kelby Woodard, who extended his gratitude to the co-chairs, honorary chairs, host committee and sponsors for helping raise a record-breaking amount from this year’s event.

He then shared with the crowd the state of the school, now in its third year with 375 students enrolled. In academics, results of the Measuring Academic Progress national standardized test had just been released with the class of 2019 having grown at four times the national average in math and reading and the class of 2020 having grown at two times the national average. Through the school’s innovative Corporate Work Study Program, where Cristo Rey students work one day per week offsite for one of 107 corporate partners, students will earn over $3.0 million towards their own education this year. Additionally they are earning strong evaluations from their supervisors, 97 percent of the time meeting or exceeding expectations, which has ranked them in the top four of all Cristo Rey schools across the nation.

He also cited that enrollment continues to increase with anticipation this year of more than 3 applications for every one spot available. And in sports, Cristo Rey students have worked hard on the track, field and the court, competing well against other local schools, including a place in the state semi-finals in soccer against Covenant School.

David Moran, chair-elect of the Cristo Rey Dallas board of directors and managing partner at Jackson Walker, a founding Corporate Work Study Program partner, followed with his firm’s experiences with the student workers through CWSP, and in closing encouraged others to consider the rewarding partnership.

Emily Casanova-Castillo, Alexis Vargas, Rhonda Hughes, Emmanuel Moreno and Dipaouly Shah*

The program then concluded with a panel discussion, “Protect the Dream: A Conversation” led by moderator Rhonda Hughes, a principal of Hughes Strategy, which is a boutique leadership development and communications firm. Joining Hughes onstage, Alexis Vargas, Emily Casanova-Castillo, Emmanuel Moreno and Dipaouly Shah each shared their experiences as students, how attending Cristo Rey Dallas has impacted their plans for the future and their experiences working for some of Dallas’ most prestigious companies through the work study program.

It was then time to let the bidding begin in the live auction with packages featuring a stay at a private home in Colorado; a work of art created by students using acrylic paint pens and wooden Popsicle sticks, entitled “Protect the Dream;” box seats for four to the Big 12 Championship on December 2; a private dinner for eight with Bishop Burns catered by Nick and Sam’s Grill; an earth-moving day of fun for 12 at Extreme Sandbox including cocktails and a catered barbeque following; and New York City trip including tickets to the sold out Billy Joel concert at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, December 20, tickets to Broadway’s School of Rock including backstage tour and accommodations at the Omni Berkshire, which garnered the highest bids of the night.

The live auction concluded with an announcement of The Partnership, a group of supporters of Cristo Rey Dallas students who co-invest $3,200 each year to bridge the tuition gap that remains after students earn over 60 percent of the education at their corporate work study jobs and their parents pay tuition based on ability.  With students earning the majority of the cost of their education, members of The Partnership are truly partners with the students themselves as they earn their own way. Auctioneer Wes Pool then asked for all in attendance to consider raising a paddle to support this important initiative.

As the evening came to a close, partygoers were treated to a late night snack of coffee and donuts, glazed in one of the school’s signature colors, orange.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron

 

MySweetCharity Opportunity: Grow The Grove

According to Grow the Grove co-chairs Muffin Lemak and Susan Palma,

Muffin Lemak and Susan Palma*

The fun has already begun for the second annual Grow the Grove event, happening on Friday, November 17, at 7 p.m. as we work alongside our Honorary Co-Chairs Mary and Mike Terry on this special evening benefiting Cristo Rey Dallas.

 Following last year’s sell-out event, Grow the Grove will take place at the venue sixty five hundred, located at 6500 Cedar Springs Road. The denim to dresses event will include a chef-prepared meal, fine wine, a spirited signature cocktail, live auction and more.

 Proceeds from Grow the Grove will benefit Cristo Rey Dallas, an innovative high school located in Pleasant Grove that offers students who would otherwise not consider private school a rigorous college prep education paired with a valuable work study program.  

The important work happening at Cristo Rey Dallas is making a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of dedicated high school students and their families, as well as the Dallas community as whole through the school’s Corporate Work Study Program.

 We are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate the great success of Cristo Rey Dallas. Grow to Grove will be a night of great fun that supports an even greater initiative—preparing hardworking students to go to and through college!

DeeDee Lee and Janie Condon (File photo)

Mike and Micki Rawlings (File photo)

Claire Emanuelson and Pam Perella (File photo)

Candace and Jim Krause

Grow the Grove host committee members include: Lydia and Bill Addy, Helaine and Dan Blizzard, Becky and Ken Bruder, Susi and Peter Brundage, Jessica and Jeff Burrow, Karen and Mark Carney, Shelly and Tom Codd, Janie and David Condon, Claire and Dwight Emanuelson, Ola and Randall Fojtasek, Barbara and Brad Fritts, Susan and Mark Godvin, Jane and Greg Greene, Jean and Erik Hansen, Julie and Ed Hawes, Candace and Jimmy Krause, Leslie and Michael Lanahan, Patty and Mark Langdale, DeeDee and Jimmy Lee, Ann and Chris Mahowald, Kiley McGuire, Karla and Mark McKinley, Susan McSherry, Tricia and Bill Miller, Laura and Scott Moore, Michelle Moussa, Angela Nash, Ruthie and Jay Pack, Pam and Gary Patsley, Pam and Vin Perella, Susan and Jon Piot, Micki and Mike Rawlings, Randa and Doug Roach, Shelle and Michael Sills, Mary and Mike Smith, Mersina Stubbs, Beth and Chuck Thoele, Debbie and John Tolleson, Piper and Mike Wyatt and Ana and Jim Yoder.

Patty and Mark Langdale (File photo)

Chuck and Beth Thoele (File photo)

Mersina Stubbs (File photo)

Angela Nash (File photo)

Susan McSherry (File photo)

Mike and Piper Wyatt (File photo)

Michael and Shelle Sills (File photo)

Sponsorships for Grow the Grove begin at $1,600.  Limited tickets will be available closer to the event at a cost of $320 each for preferred seating or $250 each for general admission. For more information, contact Lisa Brunts[email protected] or visit cristoreydallas.org.

Located in Pleasant Grove, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep provides economically challenged students of all faiths with a college preparatory education enabling them to become men and women of purpose and service. Through a rigorous curriculum, integrated with a hands-on professional work experience, students graduate ready to succeed in college and in life. cristoreydallas.org.

* Photo credit: Tamytha Cameron Smith

Robbie Briggs Hosted Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory School’s Grove To Grove Kick-Off Party

Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory School students may not be known for their football team. That’s because they don’t have one. But they’re definitely making an impact on the Dallas business community. As part of their curriculum, they have the Corporate Work Study Program in which they “work in professional settings five days per month.” Not only are they exposed to a business environment, they also earn the majority of their tuition.

To celebrate and fundraise for the Pleasant Grove school, Grove to Grove at Trinity Grove was kicked off on Wednesday, September 14, before the rains starting falling. Here’s a report from the field:

On Wednesday, September 14, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep donors and friends gathered at The Marquee for a cocktail party hosted by Robbie Briggs and Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty. The school’s supporters came together to kick off the upcoming Grove to Grove event on Friday, September 23, at 3015 at Trinity Grove and to view colorful Cristo Rey Dallas flags, which were on display throughout the shopping center.

Guests had the opportunity to meet current students who shared their experience attending a college prep high school where students work one day a week at businesses such as Hunt Oil, The Dallas Morning News and CBRE, earning tuition and valuable work experience.

Mike Rawlings, Kelby Woodard, Maria Cintron and Gunnar Rawlings*

Mike Rawlings, Kelby Woodard, Maria Cintron and Gunnar Rawlings*

Attendees included Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, Grove to Grove Co-Chairs Karen and Mark Carney and Patty and Mark Langdale, Honorary Co-Chairs Carolyn and Jere Thompson, Cheryl Joyner, Board Member Bill Miller, Amy and Pat Thompson, Mary Blake and Chuck Meadows,

Cristo Rey Dallas Corporate Work Study Executive Director Gunnar Rawlings and Cristo Rey Dallas Director of Development Susan Jenevein.

Cristo Rey Dallas President Kelby Woodard addressed the crowd of roughly 50 guests and thanked them for their support, which has greatly benefited the school’s 246 freshman and sophomore students. Woodard also provided a heartfelt message of thanks to Sister Dawn Achs of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who was in the audience, and shared details on the school’s anticipated Grove to Grove event.

“Grove to Grove is about celebrating Cristo Rey Dallas and our incredible students,” Woodard said. “But it’s also about sharing our school’s work with the rest of Dallas. Our mission is to provide economically challenged students the best possible education and prepare them to be successful in college and equip them for a lifetime of leadership. Through the funds raised at Grove to Grove, we can continue to provide our students with an excellent college preparatory education for years to come.”

* Photo provided by Cristo Rey Dallas College Preparatory School