Ok—I admit that when I RSVPed to DC Prep’s spring fundraiser I was mostly interested in seeing Jay and Sharon Rockefeller’s 15 acre estate in the heart of the district. And to say that it is another world entirely is not doing justice to a mansion that has more original art work than most museums. Perched high above Rock Creek Parkway, hidden from view, I was excited to see how the other 10th of 1% percent of people live. So call it voyeurism or whatever, I accepted the invitation and looked forward to seeing The Rocks.
It was lovely, the setting amazing, the food yummy. But after all of that, the WOW factor revealed itself to be something completely different.
DCPrep, a long time Grafik pro bono client, has been having a profound effect on the District’s schoolchildren. Under the supervision of the amazing Emily Larson, the charter school campus near Edgewood has expanded to include pre-K through 8th grade, a new school will be opening soon near Benning road and plans are already underway to open an additional 7 schools by their 10th year anniversary. DC Prep’s test scores continue to improve dramatically and one of the speakers, a kindergarten teacher told us that literacy scores were at the 99th percentile for their pre-K students entering 1st grade- this in a population of students where 4th graders often can not read or master basic math skills.
Two students spoke, one more poised and charming than another. Besides the immediate likability factor- one is maintaining a 3.8 average and told us that DC Prep, while it worked him hard, had changed his life, instilling a love of learning and good study habits. He reminded me that I saw him initially at DCPrep’s first graduation where he was also in the choir. The other young student is now at the Field School in DC- captain of practically every sports team that exists, with a strong academic record and a belief in her ability to succeed.
This is the real wow factor- a school that changes lives and really makes a difference. A management team that is involved at many different levels- a headmaster that knows the importance of working the DCPS system, but also has the warmth and charm to bend down and give one of her kindergarteners a big hug.
I was invited to this wonderful gathering not because I can write a check for $50,000 at the drop of a hat, as I expect many others in the audience can and have. I was there as an emissary of Grafik, proud of the pro bono work we have done for an organization that is so deserving. Hoping that the little we have been able to do will have a small effect on the children that need DC Prep so much.