“Writing the Code for Success” OWL’s 12th Annual Gala

What do rocket ships and OpenWorld Learning (OWL) have in common?

Well, they both soar to new heights and set tckdrop for OWL’s 2017 Gala!

Held for the second time at Wings Over the Rockies, OWL’s 12th Annual “Writing the Code for Success” Gala brought together nearly 350 advocates of quality STEM education, reaching a new level of success! By the end of the night, OWL had raised just over $150,000, a testament to the growing support of OWL’s mission to ignite a love of learning by tapping the power of digital technology.

The night was marked by impactful speeches, given by former CEO of DigitalGlobe, Jeff Tarr, keynote speaker, Rebecca Chopp, OWL’s CEO, Lea Ann Reitzig, Chairman of OWL’s Board of Directors, Jonathan Gear and Treasurer of OWL’s Board, Tim Beranek. The night was seamlessly emceed by 7News Anchor, Anne Trujillo.

Additionally, attendees heard from a current student and past student, Idaly and Juno, who spoke about their experiences in OWL and aspirations.

Idaly, a current 5th grade OWL student spoke about her growth as a leader and computer programmer. Idaly sums up how OWL has empowered her: “there are many reasons that OWL has helped, and now when I’m older, I can get a good job like an engineer, a lawyer or a doctor.”

Juno, an OWL alumnus, currently studies at the Colorado School of Mines and attributes many of his life milestones and engineering pursuits to the love for technology he gained while in OWL. He recounts the excitement he felt in third grade when he listened to his OWL instructor speak about creating animated objects and games using a computer.
As he put it, Juno saw his “potential dancing to great heights” after creating his first MicroWorlds project. He talked about the impact of earning a laptop through OWL, the first computer his family owned, and the feeling of pride he felt to be able to help out his family.

Eloquently put, Juno summed it all up: “Because OWL made its presence in my life when it did, I continued to strive for greatness … my dreams of changing the world and supporting my family are more vivid now.”

OWL was honored to recognize Jeff Tarr as this year’s Dean Abrams Leadership Award nominee. This award goes to a member of the OWL community who has provided exemplary leadership and guidance in igniting a love of learning in today’s youth. Formerly on the OWL Board for six years, Jeff has been a supporter of OWL since 2006 and has dedicated much of his time towards promoting education and technology.

Upon receiving the Dean Abrams Award, Jeff was presented with a Proclamation granted by the state of Colorado, hereby designating October 10th, 2017 as Jeffrey Tarr Day.

The 12th Annual Gala was a huge success in great part to our wonderful individual & corporate sponsors, supporters and all of the 40 volunteers who helped make this night memorable and full of excitement! Whether one was sampling the eclectic catered buffet, kudos to Alain Veratti and his team over at Crepes ‘n Crepes, posing for our talented photographer, Paul Hartmann, or enjoying a brew, graciously provided by Joyride Brewing, all were able to celebrate OWL’s accomplishments and learn about the amazing work of so many passionate supporters.

We look forward to seeing you again next year!!


You can check out more photos from OWL’s 2017 Annual ‘Writing the Code for Success’ Gala here!

A special thank you to our wonderful and generous sponsors!

Alexie & Cameron Tune Annie Grenier Wright & Ray Wright
Betsy Abrams Brett & Shana Wilhelm
Cathy & John Keenan Charlie Coglianese & Amanda Russcol
Cheryl Flink & Jim Vetricek Gloria & Ben Zamora
Jeffrey & Andrea Tarr Jo Ruder & Bob McKenzie
Jonathan & Robin Gear Kendrick McLish & Karen Iker
Kim & Sean Hudelson Kim Patmore & Tom Haller
Lea Ann Reitzig Lindsay Silber & Chris Kuhn
Lisa & Eric Jasper The Halstedt Family
Tim Beranek & Paula Molliconi