It’s fascinating that tennis great Andre Agassi—the star attraction at the April 30 fundraiser for KIPP:DFW, College Preparatory Public Schools—is a self-described “ninth-grade dropout.” Because Agassi’s zeal for the mission of KIPP, which provides children in underserved communities with free, high-quality educations at public charter schools, was evident in spades at the nonprofit’s sold-out, inaugural benefit at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.
Among the crowd were Nancy Dedman, Tricia and Gil Besing, Royce West, Jennie Reeves, Susan and Peter Aberg, Dallas First Lady Micki Rawlings and Dallas First Son Gunnar Rawlings.
Titled “Are You Smarter Than a KIPPster?”, the fun and imaginative event pitted a group of KIPP students against a “celebrity” team of eight adults. The celebs were Ruben Esquivel, Lucy Wrubel, Dallas Mayor Rawlings, state Sen. West, Peter Brodsky, Krys Boyd, Skip Hollandsworth, and Sandra Bond Chapman. And they had their fan base placed nicely.
The two teams battled it out over a series of questions from the fields of history, math, science and literature. Under the humorous hand of emcee Chris Smith, the questions ranged from the simple—what year did Columbus discover America?—to incredibly complex queries about hectagons and atoms and the metric system.
From the get-go, when students Xavier Andrus and Cristina Cervantes aced their four questions, to a “lightning rod” round at the end, the KIPPsters whipped the adults handily. At one point in the middle of the contest, Skip said of his partner Sandra, who runs the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas: “She hasn’t been able to answer a single question!” Cracked Smith: “Well, it’s not like she runs a center for brain health or anything!”
The event wasn’t all sweaty-palm test questions, though. Event chair Lael Brodsky kicked off the evening by welcoming everyone. The hundreds in attendance enjoyed a Central Market-provided meal of a turkey sandwich, a bag of vegetable chips and a cup of vichyssoise, all placed in a shiny lunch box that the guests were encouraged to keep. Lael’s husband Peter—board chair of KIPP DFW—and KIPP DFW Executive Director Quinton Vance spoke about the schools’ programs and success. There was a fundraising auction. And Agassi, who flew in from Las Vegas for the event, told the crowd how his foundation had helped build several KIPP charter schools around the country. For the auction the sports legend donated a couple of private tennis lessons and a doubles match with him and his wife, Steffi Graf, in Las Vegas. Those packages were snapped up for $50,000 apiece.
Do check MySweetCharity Photo Gallery to see the remarkable KIPPsters, who answered questions that would have stumped the Discovery Channel pros.