As the school year come to an end and our staff and students are eagerly preparing for their respective campus WOW! events. It has been a busy quarter for us, getting our students ready for the upcoming state testing and for their final WOW! presentations, and pulling off one of the best annual benefitEd events ever!
This year, benefitEd was disguised as a mini mock trial. It was the Opportunity Gap vs. Citizen Schools. We honored the commitment of our long-time law partners, McDermott Will & Emery, Ropes & Gray, and Wilmer Hale. From start to finish, with close to 250 people in the room, once again, our students not only ran the show but stole it as well. From the WOW! Gallery Walk, which was a highlight this year, where our student ambassadors were ready and able to answer guests’ many questions and demonstrate their new found mastery to the mini mock trial, where they played their respective roles with confidence and pride. Our student lawyers, questioned their witnesses, argued their case, and made closing statements as any good litigator would. In the end, the verdict was delivered by the jury foreman in favor of Citizen Schools and $110K was raised for our programs.
We were also proud to have honored Pauline Vogl, a Cisco employee, for her many years of leading the charge on Cisco’s Citizen Teacher recruitment. Pauline’s testimony, while under oath, of course, was deeply moving and heartfelt. The testimony of Daniel Alberti, an attorney with McDermott, Will and Emery and the founder of Citizen Schools California’s Mock Trial program, was powerful and full of emotion. But the testimony of the student alumni, Santy and Estefania, was the most touching and important. Their journeys were not dissimilar–both came from under-served communities and low performing middle schools; both had Citizen Schools’ inspiration and staff support, which they attributed to helping them overcome hardships and successfully move them through high school and into college and careers.
I would like to thank everyone that came to Celebrate, Connect and Transform education with us. And to all those that put in the hard work to make it possible, a huge shout out! to our Board, our Staff and, especially, our students.
In service and with gratitude,