We Wrote the Code for Success!

Recap of the 2016 Gala

It may have been the sushi. It may have been the jets. Or it may have been the worthy cause, but OpenWorld Learning (OWL)’s 11th Annual “Writing the Code for Success” Gala was OWL’s best yet.

This year’s event, the first ever to be held at Wings Over the Rockies, proved to be a smashing success with approximately $145,000 raised through a combination of ticket sales, a silent and live auction, and generous donations from our 375 attendees and sponsoring organizations.  The extra space, fascinating planes, floral design by Ladybird Poppy, beer from Ratio Beerworks and Joyride Brewing, and amazing assortment of food catered by Alain Veratti and his team from Crepes n’ Crepes, created a fun atmosphere for people to mingle and learn more about OWL’s impact over the last 16 years.

Rockin’ out to the sounds of Jon Hegel and James Nasi Jr.

The Gala included fantastic speeches from the Chairman of OWL’s Board of Directors Brett Wilhelm, CEO Lea Ann Reitzig, two former OWL students Cecilia and Oscar, and the night’s keynote speaker, Tory Bruno, President and CEO of United Launch Alliance (ULA). The entire event was wonderfully emceed by 7News’ own Anne Trujillo.

Former OWL students & 2016 Gala Speakers – Cecilia & Oscar!

This year’s winner of the Dean Abrams Leadership Award, given each year to recognize a person in the community who has provided exemplary impact, leadership and guidance in igniting a love of learning in today’s youth, was Betty Arkell. Mrs. Arkell served on the board of OWL from its founding in 2000 until 2009 and currently serves on the board of the Colorado Technology Association, Rockies Venture Club, and the Holland & Hart Foundation. Mrs. Arkell’s long history of active involvement in the community has benefited countless Coloradan’s lives both within the OWL community and beyond.

OWL was also fortunate to receive the assistance of over 40 enthusiastic volunteers who helped in the preceding weeks and night-of to create a smooth and enjoyable evening for guests. Corporations that provided volunteers included IHS Markit, Microsoft, Brocade, and more. Thank you!

We are grateful for the selfless contributions of the greater Denver community and the investments in the future generations of students. We appreciate the continued support and plan to exceed expectations each year. See you again next Fall!


To see more photos from the event please visit OpenWorld Learning’s Facebook album 2016 Writing the Code for Success.


Thank you to our 2016 sponsors:

gala sponsors
 The Halstedt Family
Kim Patmore & Tom Haller
Jonathan & Robin Gear
Jay & Bunnie Busch
Betsy Abrams
Tim Beranek & Paula Molliconi
Brett & Shana Wilhelm
Gloria & Ben Zamora
Kendrick McLish & Karen Iker
Jo Ruder & Bob McKenzie
Dr. Cheryl Flink & Jim Vetricek
Lea Ann & Rolf Reitzig

Charlie Coglianese & Amanda Russcol