Touching the lives of 88,000 young people is no easy feat, yet Denver Public Schools is doing it with skill and getting noticed in the process.

“As I travel nationally, I’ve heard time and time again that DPS is absolutely a national leader and truly positioned to become the best urban district in the nation,” relayed DPS Foundation Board Chair Brooke Brown to a crowd of 1,100 at the foundation’s12th annual Achieve Gala.

It was an evening of showcasing student achievement, from the thoughtfully prepared poster boards that gave testament to all that is happening in DPS schools such as North, Montebello, George Washington and South High Schools to the compelling beats from the North High School Drum Line. The crowd couldn’t help but smile and silently lip-synch along as the Marrama Elementary Choir opened the evening’s entertainment with their version of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” and “Twist and Shout.” They reminded us that school is about having some fun while learning tons.

North High School Senior Daniel Ramirez was the evening’s keynote speaker. Cheered on by the crowd, the loudest applause came from a table filled with 12 of his family members. His speech was as heartfelt and endearing as his commitment to continuing his education.

“It’s my goal to pay this forward and give back to the community that helped me succeed,” said the speaker who is focused on pre-med programs.

Showing an unwavering commitment, UMB Bank signed on again as the event’s Presenting Sponsor. DaVita Inc. sponsored the reception. In addition, the gala was supported by the Anschutz Foundation, Marcy and Bruce Benson, Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center, where the event was held, as well as Piton Foundation, Kristin & Blair Richardson, United Launch Alliance and Cille & Ron Williams. Polsinelli underwrote the production of unique student-made centerpieces for the event.

Governor John Hickenlooper, Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia and Superintendent Tom Boasberg enjoyed the celebration of DPS success, along with Mile High United Way CEO Christine Benero and DPS Board of Education member Happy Haynes, DPS Chief of Staff Will Lee-Ashley, and DPS Chief Academic Officer Susana Cordova.

As a former DPS teacher, it was an honor to be a part of the celebration of this district’s accomplishments. There is a palpable energy about DPS that’s thrilling to experience. The gala solidifies that truth. DPS is poised to be a national leader in education because of the tremendous dedication and heart of all those who support it and the passion of its students to grab and go for their dreams. In the end, we are all DPS as DPS is the future of our community. And that’s a good thing. These students, with grit, determination, tenacity and huge hearts, are getting well-prepared to take our city to the next level.

The Denver Public Schools Foundation is Denver Public Schools’ fundraising partner. The foundation generates resources, builds relationships and champions public education to help Every Child Succeed. For more information, visit www.dpsfoundation.org.