Viper Nation Gala raises tens of thousands for education


By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

More than 300 guests attended the 8th annual Viper Nation Gala on Saturday night and raised tens of thousands of dollars for educational initiatives of the Viper Nation Education Foundation.

Dan Troxell, Leander ISD superintendent, and Don Christian, president and CEO of Concordia University Texas, both spoke at the Feb. 10 event at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Austin. They gave inspiring words on the importance of building tomorrow’s leaders within the school classrooms.

“The 8th Viper Nation Gala was wonderfully successful with more than 300 people enjoying great prizes and a late night of dancing. Donations are still rolling in, and we are extremely thankful for the generous support from our sponsors and our community,” said Courtney Johnson, executive director of VNEF.

The final tally of the fundraising event was not available by presstime. But it was yet another strong year of raising funds for the eight public schools in Four Points. The “paddles up” portion of the event alone (which this year specifically raised funds for the foundation’s impact and annual grants) was calculated live and updated nearly automatically on the big screens for the audience to see. It appeared to have exceeded its goal $50,000. The live and silent auctions also brought in many funds for the foundation.  

The University of Texas Cowboy volunteers added to the flare of the gala, decked out in their cowboy hats and chaps, as they sold raffle tickets for a Hilderbrand necklace.

“The foundation wishes to express their most heartfelt appreciation to the entire gala committee, but especially to Gala Chair and Board member Contessa Weinheimer who spent many hours making Saturday night so successful,” said William Farrell, VNEF board chair. “Also, a hearty thanks goes to Vandegrift senior Jack Rosenblatt, junior Cole Mongauzy and teacher Michael Ellis for creating such a great documentary of the many foundation grants provided to the eight Viper Nation Schools.”