By Tammy Sakry
About 300 people came together Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Northern Stars Celebration to support the Anoka-Hennepin Educational Foundation (AHEF). The event, held at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, raised almost $30,000 for early childhood education, talent development and career and college readiness for Anoka-Hennepin students.
The event was filled with fun silent auction items, exciting live auction items and a moving patriotic performance by Blaine High School’s (BHS) orchestra, band and concert choir. Additionally the BHS chamber orchestra provided music during the social hour and the jazz band provided music during dinner. National Honor Society members from BHS and Coon Rapids High School volunteered at the event.
A special giving moment raised about $5,550 for early childhood education. It was preceded with a video featuring Maria La Hoz Castillo and Alexandre Calassara Rodrigues whose two sons participated in the Kindergarten Readiness Program (KRP). In the video one son, Enzo La Hoz Calassara, now in second grade, made a compelling case as to why other children should have the opportunity he had. Currently 300 students are being served with another 500 eligible for the highly-rated program.
Tess DeGeest, AHEF executive director, said she is impressed with the depth of understanding and appreciation community members have for the Anoka-Hennepin School District and AHEF.
“The funds raised will open doors of access and opportunity for some of our most needy three- and four-year-olds in the KRP and School Readiness Preschool,” DeGeest said. “We know that every $1 invested in early childhood education returns $11 in benefits to our communities, so this is one of the smartest investments we can make.”