Just a decade after he graduated from Cherry Creek High School, Aron Ralston came face to face with death. Alone in a Utah canyon, his right arm crushed and pinned by an 800 pound boulder, Ralston somehow found the will to live. He will share his remarkable story of survival at the 18th Annual Cherry Creek Schools Foundation Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center, 7800 E. Tufts Ave. Individual tickets are $100 and may be purchased online at www.blacktie-colorado.com/rsvp. Enter event code CCSF315.
The theme of this year’s luncheon is “Mastering Excellence in Education.” As a student at Cherry Creek High School, Ralston participated in National Honor Society, Model United Nations, Jazz Band and lacrosse. After his graduation in 1993, he attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he earned degrees in mechanical engineering and French, as well as a minor in piano. He then worked as a mechanical engineer for Intel, before giving up his job to pursue his passion for the great outdoors. Ralston documented his near-death experience in his best-selling autobiography “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” which was adapted for the 2010 Oscar nominated film “127 Hours” directed by Danny Boyle and starring James Franco.
“We are honored to have Aron Ralston share his compelling and inspiring story with the Cherry Creek Schools community,” said Foundation Board Chairperson Michele Beserra.
Slam poet Jovan Mays, a graduate of Smoky Hill High School, and students from Fox Hollow Elementary will also perform at the luncheon, which is presented by the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation and sponsored by EKS&H, 1ST Bank and tw telecom. The luncheon benefits the Cherry Creek School District and its 50,000 students.
Three students will receive special scholarships during the luncheon:
• Two students will receive the AVID Giving Generation Scholarship, which recognizes exceptional AVID students. AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a program that prepares students, especially those in the academic middle, for college eligibility and success.
• One student will receive the Monte C. Moses Future Educator Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student who plans to study education in college and pursue a career in teaching. The scholarship is presented in honor of former Cherry Creek Schools Superintendent Monte Moses, who was the 2005 National Superintendent of the Year.
During the luncheon, the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation will also honor district and community members for their support of excellence in education:
• Julie Mork will be recognized as the Foundation’s 2012 Champions of Education Honoree for her long-time service and dedication to Cherry Creek Schools and public education. She is the managing director of Energy Corporation of America Foundation, Inc., a private foundation focusing on youth and education. Mork also served on the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation Board for six years.
• Mark Overmeyer will be recognized as the 2012 Catherine Canny Award Honoree. He has 23 years of teaching experience as a classroom teacher in grades two through six, a special education and Title I teacher, and a coordinator for gifted programming, all in the Cherry Creek School District.
In the past 17 years, the Cherry Creek Schools Foundation has raised and distributed more than $7 million dollars to support programs that impact student achievement and benefit students and teachers throughout the Cherry Creek School District. For more information about the Foundation or the Foundation Luncheon, call 720-554-4409 or visit www.ccsdfoundation.org.