Submitted by Diana Hanford
(Photo credit: Downtown Photography)
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — It was an unforgettable ride, packed with nonstop action and entertainment as Broward Education Foundation took flight with BrightStar Credit Union’s TOP FUN presented by Office Depot at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort to raise funds for students and teachers in Broward County Public Schools.
The annual themed fundraiser saluted the Fort Lauderdale Air Show and paid homage to Top Gun: Maverick, the soon-to-be released sequel to the iconic Top Gun movie, with guests donning aviator glasses, leather jackets, flight suits and their finest patriotic attire.
Highlights from the high-flying evening included the Broward Teachers Union
Officer’s Club cocktail reception complete with F14 flight simulators and a silent auction, a delicious dinner, live musical entertainment, and dancing. Broward Education Foundation board member Alex Price, a doppelganger for Tom Cruise’s Maverick character, made special guest appearance and serenaded guests with memorable moments and songs from Top Gun.
“When I received the “MayDay’ that the Foundation’s scheduled Maverick flamed out and missed his red-eye flight from San Diego that morning, I was elated to fly to the rescue,” said Price, Office Depot’s National Director of Community Advancement. “This gave 3rd grade me a chance to live out a boyhood dream!”
Broward Education Foundation recognized Verizon as the 3rd Annual “Heart of Broward” Honoree. Verizon’s steadfast support of the Foundation’s Innovative
Teaching Program was instrumental in providing crucial support throughout the pandemic and enabled educators to develop curriculums that propelled student achievement in STEM. The Verizon Innovative Learning initiative targets Title I middle schools in Broward County and addresses barriers to digital inclusion.
Among the guests attending the sold-out fundraiser included Superintendent of Broward County Public Schools Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright, Broward County School Board Members Chair Laurie Rich Levinson, Vice-Chair Patricia Good, Donna P. Korn, Debra Hixon, Lori Alhadeff, and Ann Murray and along with numerous South Florida elected officials and community and educational leaders.
“As we emerge from this unprecedented time, we’ve come to realize that no matter how resilient we are, our students and teachers in Broward County Public Schools need our support now more than ever before,” said Shea Ciriago, CEO of Broward Education Foundation. “We are incredibly grateful to our loyal wingmen, our generous partners and supporters who enable us to raise much-needed awareness and funds to maximize the quality of education in our community.”
Proceeds benefit Broward Education Foundation’s transformational programs and initiatives for students and teachers in Broward County Public Schools. Programs include innovative teaching grants to advance PreK-12 achievement; school supplies and educational materials for Title I students and class-rooms; and scholarships for qualified high school seniors. Each year, the Foundation contributes more than $3 million to Broward County Public Schools, serving as the catalyst for educational excellence.
Sponsors in addition to Brightstar Credit Union and Office Depot, were Broward Teachers Union, Cox Media Group, Verizon, Johns Eastern Co., Inc., JM Family Enterprises, Inc., Memorial Healthcare System, Pirtle Construction, Ultimate Kronos Group, Arthur J. Gallagher Benefit Services, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management, Ballard Partners, Broward County Athletic Association, Broward Health, Charles H. Wanza, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Charter Schools Of Excellence, First Family Insurance, Harmony Development Center, iHeart Media, and The Fischer Group.