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Higher Achievement 40th Anniversary Gala

Last night, we celebrated 40 years of Higher Achievement at their annual Going Places Gala.

We snapped US Rep. John Lewis, one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, who gave an inspiring speech, with gala chair and Vornado DC chief Mitchell Schear and HA CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries.

EagleBank's Ron Paul, Mitchell Schear, Balfour Beatty Construction's Bill McIntosh, Higher Achievement executive director Katherine Roboff, K4 Solutions' Sumi Krishnan, First Potomac Realty Trust's Doug Donatelli and Davis Construction's Jim Davis.

The evening began in the historic Warner Theatre, where some of the 10,000-plus alumni and scholars spoke about how Higher Achievement has forever changed their lives. Here, scholar Chioma Aneke flanked by program mentors Sharon Jacobs and Chris Tjiattas.

Following the program, guests enjoyed dinner and drinks in the atrium of Vornado's K St building. Here, National Geographic's Betty Hudson, SVB Consulting's Sanja Basaric, Holly Hassett and Miss DC 2015 Haeley Jardas.

HA's rigorous after-school and summer academic programs close the opportunity gap annually for 600 at-risk middle school kids. This year's event raised $1.5M. Here, Lansdowne Construction's Nick Granger and Bob Wooddell with proud HA grandmother Tawana Colon and scholars Destiny and Da'ntrell.