On May 6, the 2023 Colorado Academy Auction brought together more than 400 enthusiastic guests to support CA’s financial aid program, which in the 2023-2024 school year will total $5.1 million and support 190 students. Sponsored by Aurum Home Technology, the “Roundup at the Mustang Corral” in CA’s Field House welcomed parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends—many of whom came dressed in their fanciest Western attire—to enjoy delicious food and drinks, listen to remarks by Head of School Dr. Mike Davis, participate in a Live Auction and paddle-raise, and celebrate with music and dancing.
All told, the event—which also included an online Silent Auction as well as sponsorships, Patron packages, and tickets—yielded more than a half million dollars that will help families with financial need send their students to CA. The school’s aim is for all admitted students to have the opportunity to attend CA, regardless of their family’s economic situation.
“Supporting families and helping the school to maintain and increase socioeconomic diversity is a vital piece of our mission and is critical to the kind of community we endeavor to build at CA,” said Davis, who wore a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and special CA tooled-leather cowboy boots in honor of the night’s theme. “A lot has changed since our last CA Auction in 2019, but what has not changed is the generosity of our amazing community. The success of events like this only happens with the support of so many of you.”
The authentic tooled-leather saddles, hats, hay bales, and other Western-themed décor that transformed the Field House clearly helped to galvanize that support. Attendees could even take a CA-branded straw hat or bandana as they entered the Auction through swinging saloon doors, designed and constructed by CA’s Theater Tech Department. The down-home cooking served up by Biscuits & Berries Catering Company kept hungry cowpokes happy, delighting with everything from pickled okra to pork belly burnt ends to green chile mac and cheese.
Auction Co-Chairs Janelle Blessing and Melinda Robinson oversaw all the details of the event, including gathering Silent and Live Auction items, selling tickets and Patron packages, and brainstorming and creating the event décor. The co-chairs were supported by the hardworking Auction Committee, whose members include: Alexandra Band, Caity Barton, Laura Briger, Jocelyn Ege, Julia Völkel Emerson ’94, Lyndsey Farncombe, Alison Gile, Candice Gottlieb, Kelly Haley, Victoria Hall, Mackenzie Hamilton, Jennifer Hertz, Joe Kim, Reena Majmudar, Suchit Majmudar, Julianne Maron, Margaret Matthews, Cat McEachern, Amy McPheeters, Jennifer Miller, Liz Buckingham Oertel ’93, Healy Parks, Jill Boat Rakowski ’92, Natalie Newcom Ralston ’99, Ann Benson Reidy ’88, Greer Ryan, Lauren Sanley, Elana Schwartzreich, Maggie Shapiro, Jessica Sigala, Heather Yi, and Tricia Youssi.
“Schools like CA can create massive change in our students’ wellness and success,” Davis said to kick off the event. “We know so many of our students who receive financial aid also go on to impact their community and society in important ways. Every CA student benefits from financial aid—it helps us build a diverse community that is more representative of the real world. Our students, no matter what their background, are going to go on to all different kinds of workplaces and communities, and they’ll be prepared to make an impact no matter where they land.”
Auctioneer and CA alumnus and parent Tom Kimball ’89 then took the stage, rustling up a hearty “yee-haw!” from guests. Kimball proceeded to invite bids on incredible Live Auction packages, including a Formula 1® Grand Prix 2023 Austin experience; seven nights in Le Marche, Italy; a summer weekend at Rawah Guest Ranch; four nights at an Exclusive Resorts destination; seven nights in Harbour Island, Bahamas; a weekend in Chicago; and a Major League Baseball 2023 All-Star Game package.
Next, a video highlighted the success of one CA alumnus, Hernaldo Piñón ’18, who came to CA as a Challenge Foundation Scholar and went on to study linguistics in France. When Piñón returned to the Denver area, he took a position with the Challenge Foundation supporting students at CA and other independent schools.
“Hernaldo’s story is a great reminder that financial aid at CA doesn’t just affect individual students. It can make a difference for so many,” said Davis. The video inspired guests to raise their paddles to offer generous donations ranging from $250 to $20,000 to support CA’s financial aid budget.
Before wrapping up the auction and inviting the audience to enjoy more food, drinks, and dancing, Davis said, “I’m blown away by your generosity tonight.”