KIPP OKC students take on community leaders in a fundraising quiz-bowl challengeByLea Terry
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For its upcoming fundraiser, KIPP Reach College Preparatory in northeast Oklahoma City wanted to do something big. Not only is the school celebrating its 15th anniversary, but it was recently named the state’s top middle school by the Oklahoma Department of Education. The school decided to use the fundraiser to show off its students’ hard work and talents.
“Too many times, young people that come from communities that have challenges don’t get a chance to show that they can be just as smart and just as successful as anyone else when given the opportunity,” said KIPP parent and board chairman Gary Jones.
KIPP OKC’s inaugural Are You Smarter Than a KIPPster? fundraiser is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at Science Museum Oklahoma, 2020 Remington Place. The fundraiser uses a quiz bowl-style format in which KIPP students compete against prominent community leaders on subjects the students are learning in school.
Former Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Turpen and former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, co-hosts of Flashpoint on KFOR-TV, are masters of ceremonies for the event. In choosing community leaders to participate, KIPP looked for figures who were both well-known and would contribute to the night’s entertainment. Jones said the kids are excited about interacting with the community leaders and showing off their knowledge.
School officials decided on the quiz bowl format because they wanted something special to celebrate KIPP OKC’s 15 years of success. It also gives guests a firsthand look at the school’s academic achievement and its students and invites them to celebrate and participate in its continuing growth.
“It showcases that these young students are very academically oriented and they’re very proud of the success that they’ve had,” Jones said.
The school had an overwhelming response when reaching out to community leaders to participate and in getting sponsorships, Jones said. The fundraiser’s title sponsor is Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. The McLaughlin Family Foundation is offering a matching grant of funds up to $25,000 for donations made to the fundraiser.
The event will also honor Inasmuch Foundation president and CEO Bob Ross for his longtime support of the school. Jones said Ross had never heard of KIPP until he read a story about the nationwide school in People magazine, which had an article featuring KIPP OKC. Ross requested a tour and became one of the school’s biggest supporters.
“Without the support of him and the Inasmuch Foundation, KIPP would not have been able to have the success that it’s having right now,” Jones said.
Ross will be named an honorary KIPPster and receive KIPP OKC’s Beyond Z Award, which honors people from the school community who do something extra to help the students succeed and achieve their academic dreams.
KIPP Reach is a free public charter school that’s part of the Oklahoma City Public Schools system and also belongs to the national Knowledge Is Power Program, which was founded in 1994 and now includes over 100 locations across the United States. It helps students in underserved communities obtain an education that will prepare them for college. KIPP OKC serves students in grades five through eight.
Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served at the fundraiser, and the event also features a performance by dance students from Life Change Ballroom, a nonprofit organization that uses partner dancing to teach life skills to youth.
Tickets are $50. Reservations are required, and sponsorships are available.