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Students Take Center Stage at First Ever EL Education Gala

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    April Hattori

Students from The Springfield Renaissance School and Polaris Charter Academy on April 5th made the work within EL Education schools come to life at our first ever Gala honoring our Founding Chair Lee Klingenstein. The WHEELS Performance Ensemble added to festivities with music during the reception before dinner at the Metropolitan Club in New York.

Ajeya Clouden and Jesse Kokosa

Ajeya Clouden and Jesse Kokosa, juniors at The Springfield Renaissance School in Springfield, MA, emceed the evening. Also, four students from Polaris Charter Academy in Chicago and its Head of School Michelle Navarre joined Chief Academic Officer Ron Berger in a powerful conversation about what it means to be EL Education.

Students Ameerah Rollins and Simeon Henderson, and Ron Berger

Ameerah Rollins, a member of Polaris’ first graduating class and currently a sophomore at a Chicago public high school noted that her experience at an EL Education school has helped her prepare for the challenges and rigors of life.

“Polaris has taught me that we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Just as it is important to study for a test, it’s just as important to study yourself and figure out how to grow as a person in your own way - to understand that failure is a part of life and a great way to be a stronger better person. I wasn’t put on this earth to only care for myself, but I am really responsible for those around me,” Rollins said.

Navarre noted that Polaris wouldn’t exist without its partnership with EL Education. “Polaris wouldn’t be Polaris if we weren’t an EL Education school. We couldn’t do the work that we do,” she said. “When we started this partnership, I thought I knew what partnership meant. I had no idea what it meant to truly be Crew, to be a partner.” She added that being part of the EL Education network has enabled Polaris to become a Level 1 school in Chicago with the third highest state test score growth of any elementary school in its district and the the highest retention rate of any charter school in Chicago.

Students from the WHEELS Performance Ensemble

Lee and Daney Klingenstein

The evening honored Lee Klingenstein for his steadfast leadership and support over more than two decades. In accepting the award, Lee thanked EL Education for the opportunity to make a difference in the world. 300 guests gathered for the celebration, and we were thrilled to see our leaders and students featured in the New York Times Sunday Styles.

Gala guests enjoyed watching “More Than You Think Possible”