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Post and photos by Whitney Stringer

On Wednesday, April 28th the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship Dare to Dream Gala at the Marriott Wardman Park chaired by powerhouse Cynthia de Lorenzi, started with a bang.  As attendees took their seats a congo line peppered with Redskin Cheerleaders encircled the room.

The theme of the night was “Making It In Business” and the 13th Anniversary event was all about the following your dreams.

During the night a number of local leaders were honored such as Patty Alper of the Alper Portfolio Group and adviser for the NFTE Greater Washington Board of Advisors. Alper was acknowledged for her long-standing dedication to helping local low-income students achieve in the classroom with the support of both her time and financial support.  Michael Chasen, CEO of locally grown business giant, Blackboard Inc. , was recognized for taking a start-up business with one product to a company that generated $377 million in revenue last year all with the idea of using technology to make the education more accessible.

In addition to leaders in the business field, a number of local teachers were recognized for their hard work including:
National NFTE Teacher of the Year: Mary Ellen McCormick, TC Williams High School
NFTE-Greater Washington Regional Teacher of the Year: Beverly Jackson, Northwestern High School
NFTE-Greater Washington Rookie Teacher of the Year: Emily Heuber, Columbia Heights Education Center, Bell Multicultural Senior High School

Chris Gardner, real life star of the movie we all loved, The Pursuit of Happyness, highlighted the evening as the keynote speaker with a speech conveying the important role his mother had in his life who told him he could succeed no matter his background struggle.

The real stars for the night however, were the students. While a number were recognized, the two that stood out to me were Jada Nicome of Northwestern High School and Andre Robinson of Garfield High School. Jada, the founder of K-9 Couture, was the winner of the 2010 NFTE’s Global Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for her company. Andre gave an inspiring speech about how a movie theatre snack bar inspired him to mix chocolates and popcorn to create his company, Klassic Kernels.

For more information about NFTE in DC, please go to: http://dc.nfte.com/

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