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Spectacular Taylor Swift Gift Boosts Houston Classical Charter School — Part of a Jaw-Dropping $1.75 Million Windfall

Growing to Make a Bigger Difference

BY SHELBY HODGE // 04.17.24


Chea & Lia Kelly with the Taylor Swift autographed guitar that they made the winning bid on at the Houston Classical Charter School gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

What: Houston Classical Charter School (HCCS) second annual Foundational Dinner

PC Moment: The highlight of the evening would be the spectacular bottom line — $1,750,000 raised for the tuition-free charter school that welcomes low-income students from kindergarten through eighth grade. Last year’s gala proceeds of $1.1 million allowed the expansion from kindergarten to third grade. These 2024 gala proceeds will enable the school to register and teach more students.

Raul & Kristin Abello, Dr. Julie & Eric Kuo, Jordan & Dylan Seff at the Houston Classical Charter School gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

That growth “is not merely for the sake of expansion,” HCCS founder Deyvis Salazar told the gathering. “We are not aiming to become a network of 20 schools. On the contrary, we strive to maintain intimate connections with our families. Rather, we are committed to knowing each child and family who walks through our doors.”

Located in Alief, Houston Classical Charter School employs a classical approach to learning, stressing rigorous academics, character development, and a structured environment designed to ensure high school, college, and life success.

Jasmine Nguyen, Natalie Mohtashami, and Brooke Lee at the Houston Classical Charter School gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

Applause, applause for chairs Kristin and Raul Abello, honorary chairs, Dr. Julie and Eric Kuo and Jessica and Brian Leeke, and auction chairs Jordan and Dylan Seff.


HCCS patrons Joe Greenberg, the Alta Resources founder, and Mark Gregg, Kiwi Energy founder, generously contributed to the bottom line by announcing that they would match all gifts during the event up to $200,000.

Further adding to the proceeds were to-die-for live auction items — a signed Taylor Swift guitar, two tickets to her concert in New Orleans, an unforgettable journey to the sun-kissed shores of Puerto Vallarta for 17 at Villa Alexa, and a Hill Country getaway with a James Beard Award nominated chef.

Kathy Goossen, Anna & Charlie Schwartzel at the Houston Classical Charter School gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

PC Seen: Adrienne and Snehal Amin, Katy Thomas-Salazar, Claire Liu, Vanessa and Chuck Ames, John Marc Monrad, Jillian and Yuri Waldo, Katherine and Paul Manuel, Haydeh and Ali Davoudi, Cristina and Morgan Lunt, Debra Gregg, Kathy Goossen, Anna and Charlie Schwartzel, Katherine and Paul Manuel, and Natalie Mohtashami.

original article here.


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