DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Oct 2, 2014) - Anastasia Cordova of Denver North High School, Omar Aden of Denver South High School and Weld Central Senior High School student Lorenzo Quezada-Pacheco each will receive the prestigious Summit Award during the Colorado "I Have A Dream" Foundation (CIHAD) October 30 gala at the Hyatt Regency Denver Convention Center. The accolade honors individuals who have excelled academically, triumphed over personal obstacles, and demonstrated a personal commitment to the betterment of community.
Former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers will be the master of ceremonies for the gala, which begins with a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will open the festivities with a step show and there will be a special performance by the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Troupe, which also will join the CIHAD Dreamers for a unique presentation of the song "Happy." Addressing the gathering will be Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and keynote speaker Dr. Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University. The event also will include presentation of the foundation's Dream Maker Award to Navin Dimond and the McHugh Award to Leslie and Noel Ginsburg.
Cordova, who aspires to become a veterinarian, lives with her mother and three cousins -- two of whom joined their household following the cancer-related death of their own mother. Her biological father has been absent from her entire life. A member of the North Viking volleyball team who hopes to join the school's soccer squad this year, she cites math and language arts as her favorite subjects. Cordova participated in CIHAD's six-week summer 2013 program focusing on past and present civil and human rights issues that culminated in a civil rights trip to Atlanta, Birmingham and Montgomery. This past summer, she was an intern with University of Colorado-Denver working in the School of Education and Human Development as well as in the Peer Advocate Leader Office.
Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Aden fled Somalia's deadly civil war with his parents and two younger siblings and traveled to America in 2004. The family has since grown to include eight siblings who all look up to their big brother as he continues to overcome life's challenges. In elementary school, Aden was put in special education classes, bullied for not fitting in, and told by teachers not to expect too much of himself because there was a limit to how much he could learn, yet his resolve has remained strong. He achieved a 3.35 GPA in his most recent semester at Denver South as well as a perfect attendance record. And, at the CIHAD afterschool program, his presence is a driving force for others who feed off of his energy and determination.
Quezada-Pacheco's family was devastated by the loss of his mother when he was very young. In his elementary school years he struggled both academically and behaviorally, and during middle school a pattern of moving constantly and changing schools stifled his progress. Before entering high school, Quezada-Pacheco and his family chose for him to move to Brighton with his older sister, Patricia, and her family. This proved to be a wise decision. He finished his freshman year and also participated on the school's soccer team. Although he is behind in a few of his classes, he completed two courses during the summer session and is close to being back on track to graduate. Looking toward the future, his goal is to own an auto mechanic shop.
CIHAD believes that every child deserves a quality education and that every child has a fundamental right to reach his/her highest potential. Since its founding in 1988, CIHAD has impacted the lives of more than 650 program participants, who are affectionately called Dreamers, through mentoring, academic enrichment services, social-emotional supports, life skills development, global cultural exploration activities, experiential learning, community service projects, internship and corporate networking experiences, collegiate coaching, and tuition assistance for higher education. Dreamers are selected and adopted in kindergarten and are provided these services up and through post-secondary pursuits. Each of this year's Summit Award recipients will receive extra post-secondary educational assistance from the foundation. To learn more about CIHAD visit http://www.cihadf.org/. Gala tickets are available at https://www.blacktie-colorado.com/rsvp/rsvp.cfm?eventcode=%2B%3F92%3A%27%25%27Z%20PHF%5F%5DL%20.