Houston can be hostile territory for a Dallas Cowboy, but there was nothing but love for legendary quarterback Troy Aikman at the To Educate All Children fundraiser Tuesday at River Oaks Country Club. The sold-out dinner raised a record-breaking $700,000 for the program that works to give educators in low-income schools strategies in de-escalation and conflict resolution.
Touchdown For TEACH definitely scored big with the crowd of almost 500 guests. NFL running back-turned-sports broadcaster Spencer Tillman emceed the evening, donating his time to TEACH, but he wasn’t the only famous face in the crowd.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin received a standing ovation from TEACH guests and Furr High School principal Bertie Simmons wowed the audience with not only her 61-year education career, but also the news of a $10 million grant through a new national contest sponsored by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Once Tillman and Aikman took the stage, the two college football buddies chatted about everything from football to Aikman’s typewriter prowess.
“I was an excellent typist in school. I was so good that I signed up for Typing Two,” Aikman said. He also talked about the connection between succeeding in the classroom and on the field and what makes both possible.
"Great coaches and great teachers give you a reason to hope,” Aikman said.
Touchdown for Teach has quickly become a marquee event, growing from the Hotel ZaZa to River Oaks Country Club and retaining event chairs Carol and Mike Linn for three consecutive years. DeeDee and Wallis Marsh served as honorary chairmen for the fourth year in a row. To Educate All Children was founded by Susan D. Sarofim and Mary Yenik, and the fundraiser was completely underwritten by Fayez Sarofim.
The Touchdown for Teach crowd included Laurie Krohn, Richard Carranza, Scott Muri, Pam Wells, Joanne King Herring, Hallie Vanderhider, Donna and Tony Vallone, Joann and Bill Crassas, Grace Kim, Stephanie Tsuru, Leticia and Steve Trauber, Kathy and Paul Murphy, Judie Oudt, Gaye Lynn and Stuart Zarrow, Chuck Jenness, Susan and Richard Keeton, Belinda and Corky Hillhouse, Bruce Derrick, Dan Pickering, Philamena and Arthur Baird, Frances Marzio, Bill King and Shirley Dannenbaum.