chairsHundreds of Houstonians turned out to support quality education for local students at Houston A+ Challenge’s fifth annual Power of the Network benefit dinner, held on Tuesday, November 19 at River Oaks Country Club.  More than $125,000 was raised to promote quality and innovation in Houston schools. Co-Chairs Beth Wolff and Ed Wolff welcomed the more than 300 attendees who support Houston A+ Challenge’s work.  Ellen and Jeer Cabahug, middle school teachers at two schools participating in A+ programs, shared how professional coaching and training provided by A+ is strengthening them as educators, helping them address challenges in their schools, and putting more middle school students on the path to post-secondary success. Chevron was honored for its deep commitment to education – particularly science, technology, engineering and math education – in Houston and around the world.  Accepting the Maconda Brown O’Connor Award for Leadership in Public Education on Chevron’s behalf, Joni Baird shared how Chevron raised $1 million that will go directly to classrooms through this year’s Fuel Your School initiative, and invested in bringing the world’s foremost leaders in education to Houston through this year’s A+ Speaker Series.  Maconda O’Connor Abinader presented the award named in her grandmother’s honor, noting the elder Maconda’s deep devotion to education and public service. Former State Representative Scott Hochberg and former State Senator Florence Shapiro were honored for their contributions to education with the Andrea White Award for Service to Public Education, presented by Elena White, daughter of Andrea and Bill White.   The evening’s program featured a lively “fireside chat” between the legislators, who throughout their careers championed excellence in Texas schools from opposite sides of the aisle.  Co-Chair Ed Wolff moderated the discussion. In the River Oaks Grand Ballroom accented with pale blue and A+’s signature red, guests were visited by Executive Director Scott Van Beck, who discussed the programs, and enjoyed a surf-and-turf menu completed with cookies inspired by the Co-Chairs’ work in real estate.  Presenting sponsor for the event was H-E-B. Also attending the event were: Houston A+ Challenge Board Chair Bill Crouch and wife Karen; A+ Board Members Susan Bischoff, Scott McClelland and wife Soraya, Gasper Mir and wife Beckie, Yava Scott and husband Milton, Jonathan Day and wife Barbara, Shawn Gross, Vic Samuels, Roberto Gonzalez and wife Irma, Karol Musher and husband Daniel, J. David Thompson, Judith Cruz and Bo Fraga; and a wide range of guests including  Harriet and Joe Foster, Susan Krohn, Regina Rogers, Leslie Blanton, Ann Friedman, Charmane and Robert Carter, Stephen and Peg Klineberg, Lesha Elsenbrook, Nancy Ruez, Harriet and Truett Latimer, Roxann and Tim Neuman, Tracy and Ken Janda, Jennifer and Chris LaPorte, Anna Eastman, Philamena and Arthur Baird, Glen Rosenbaum, Kenya and Edgar Colon, Houston City Council Members Ellen Cohen and Jack Christie, and State Representatives Alma Allen, Sarah Davis, Gene Wu and John Zerwas. Learn More: See event recap on CultureMap View Sponsors View Host Committee Video: About Houston A+ Challenge (Giving Library) Video: “I Am” by A+ Unlimited Potential Students Photos by Kim Coffman

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