HCEF gala raises more than $125,000 for Viper Nation, $33k for VHS library transformation


The Hill Country Education Foundation’s 6th Annual Giddy Up Gala united the Four Points community in raising more than $125,000 for the eight schools in the Vandegrift High School feeder pattern on Feb. 27.

Nearly 400 people attended the event at the Westin Austin at the Domain and learned about HCEF’s new tagline, “Your Viper Nation Academic Booster,” while enjoying an evening of auction, dining and dancing.

Funds raised will affect the many programs HCEF supports including impact grants, scholarships, PSAT boot camp, SAT curriculum, robotics grants, Naviance, International Baccalaureate and much more.

The highlight of the evening occurred during the “Fund-A-Need” when HCEF presented a multi-phase project that will transform the VHS library into a “Learning Commons” where students will share space for information technology, collaboration, group study, classroom instruction and more. The first priority and phase one is to remodel the library computer lab and create a new “Scholar Lab”.

The Scholar Lab will serve multiple purposes. Glass will create a barrier-free space allowing librarians a direct view of students at all times. Small groups, large groups, independent study and classroom instruction can all take advantage of the new flexible room. Gala guests raised more than $30,000 for this part of the project, which allows for matching grant opportunities from other organizations and demonstrates that the Four Points community is behind this initiative.

Donors at $500 received the opportunity for a special designation in the new “Library  Commons” that will highlight one student’s name and class year. Families who gave $1,000 can highlight two students and so forth. HCEF envisions a striking visual tribute for future Vipers and Vandegrift alumni alike.

Giving for the Learning Commons continues and this naming opportunity has been extended as we continue to raise $100,000 which is the estimated cost of the project. Watch the video to learn more and give today at www.HillCountryEdFoundation.org.

Giddy Up Gala sponsors:

Cattle Baron

Independence Title

Tuscan Village Lakeway


Trail Boss

Cedar Park Pediatric & Family Medicine

Pete & Misti Dwyer

Lexus of Lakeway


Rough Rider

American Constructors

Gene Arant Team, Keller Williams Realty

Austin Asset

Bridgepoint Consulting

Four Points Orthodontics, David R. Nelson DDS

Brenda & Lance Langford

Solaris Private Wealth Management

SouthStar Bank



Austin Diagnostic of Steiner Ranch

Cool Creek Family Dental

Gloria & Mack Parker

Mary & Geoffrey Scherer

Craig Smyser, RE/MAX Capital City

Steiner Cleaners  


Ranch Hand

Cudzilo Family

Four Points Chamber of Commerce


Paddle Sponsor

Moviehouse & Eatery


Photo Booth

Four Points News

Live auction

Arbor Car Wash

Pete & Misti Dwyer

Four Points Orthodontics, Dr. David R. Nelson DDS

Rhonda Durrill, Avalar Real Estate Austin

Gatsby’s Menswear

The John Gilbert Family

Intelligent Real Estate, John Wilson

Michael Johnson

Andy Krupp

Moviehouse & Eatery

Napa Flats Wood-Fired Kitchen

Randalls Food Markets

RedFin Seafood Kitchen

Steiner Cleaners & Laundry

Texas Youth Hunting Program

Texas Beef Council

Tiffany Collins Blackmon

Travaasa Experiential Resort

Vandegrift Football Team & Booster Club

HCEF also pointed out that many hard working, dependable and dedicated volunteer chairs helped make the event a success.

Debbie Donohue – event chair

Julie Petrucelli and Cherisse Smyser – silent auction chairs

Stephanie Johnson and Misti Dwyer – live auction chairs

Chris Lee – ticket sales/technology chair

Myra Roberts, centerpieces and Pam Province, auction tables – decorating chairs

Catherine Parrington – entertainment chair

Mary Scherer – Fund-A-Need chair

Michelle Beck – HCEF board liaison

There were many more hands that brought their talents from pre-Gala preparation and procurement to set-up and event night help. HCEF thanks the generous parents and students who were an integral component to the fundraiser’s success including Julie Ballengee, Caroline Bayse, Jenifer Blau, Ben Borer, Travis Brannan, Jill Collins, Chris Donohue, Michael Johnson, Jr., Stacey and Ted Jones, Laura, Tanner and Hunter Lee, Barb Lucido, Ellie Pasquarette, Peggi and Kyra Patel, Jim Roberts, Julie Sabuda, Dana Schwent, Lynette Haaland Seitzler, Tonya and Adam Stahl, Barbara Vallone, Laurie Wright and VHS PALS.