Whether they lived it or just watched it in a movie, guests at this year’s Disco Daze Wine & Dine were whisked back to a shiny-polyester, “Saturday Night Fever” time when people were enticed to do the Hustle en masse. Even without a designated area for dancing, classic 1970s club hits inspired spontaneous boogie-oogie moves throughout the evening at Colorado Academy Campus Center.

Tim Wachuta (left) and John Fenley. Move over, John Travolta!

Tim Wachuta (left) and John Fenley. Move over, John Travolta!

The annual, themed Wine & Dine event is the primary fundraiser for Horizons at Colorado Academy, a year-round enrichment program to help disadvantaged kids achieve academic success. On Thursday, Feb. 18, more than 300 mostly costumed supporters were able to spend the evening noshing nonstop on tasty tidbits and scrumptious spirits from Denver’s best chefs, eateries and purveyors.

Thanh Luony is dressed to the nines...and the '70s.

Thanh Luony is dressed to the nines…and the ’70s.

With a sparkling array of niceties, guests placed strategic bids on silent-auction items, and the live auction was led by emcee Tom Kimball, former president of Colorado Academy’s alumni association board. The purpose of the evening wasn’t forgotten, as Horizons student Edith Villalobos spoke to the crowd about her own 17-year journey with Horizons that began in kindergarten and continued on to her college success. She was introduced by Horizons Executive Director Jessie Skipwith.

Horizons at Colorado Academy, part of a national network in 17 states, is a non-profit program that offers student enrichment designed specifically for Denver Public School children from low-income families. The program is committed to the development of the whole child through experiences that enhance self-esteem, foster responsibility, build problem-solving skills, and encourage a life-long interest in learning. It emphasizes academic enrichment, social growth with structured group dynamics, swimming lessons and sports participation, life-skills, cultural experiences and the arts. Horizons students use Colorado Academy facilities, bus transportation, dining services and educational resources, and many student and parent volunteers from the school provide program support.

Horizons is entering its 19th year at Colorado Academy and serves more than 140 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 10. The program has a proven track record providing on average 3-4 months in academic gains over just six weeks in the summer, a time during which children would normally lose up to three months of skills. Horizons can provide two healthy meals per day for each student during the summer program. Through year-round “Super Saturday” programming, students stay connected to their Horizons teachers and peers. The year-to-year retention rate of students is 98 percent.

Colorado Academy’s program is among the first in the country to develop a Horizons high school component. Students in this age group take part in activities such as as college visits, application “boot camps” and interviewing skills. Horizons faculty and staff salaries and program operating costs are provided through generous support from the community and other foundations. For more information, please visit: http://www.coloradoacademy.org/Page/Programs (select Horizons from the drop-down menu).