On January 10, some of the city’s most dedicated Spurs fans once again laced up there tennis shoes and dusted off their formal wear for the annual Tux ‘N Tennies Gala presented by SWBC and H-E-B. The well-known fundraiser benefits Silver & Black Give Back – the nonprofit of Spurs Sports & Entertainment – and its two flagship programs: Spurs Youth Basketball League and the Team Up Challenge.
Held at the AT&T Center for the second year in a row, the theme of “Spurs Night Live” transformed the attendees into a live audience and our beloved Spurs into cast members of the legendary sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. Spurs legend Sean Elliott and sports media darling Michelle Beadle played hosts for the evening’s program with musical guest Vintage Trouble. Spurs players and coaches joined in the festivities by hosting the event and staring in recreations of crowd-favorite SNL sketches from over the years.
Home from college during his winter break, one recent Edison High School graduate was on-hand suited up in his tux and tennies to share his Team Up Challenge story with the crowd. Jeremiah Raygoza came to Tux ‘N Tennies with his mentor and his former high school science teacher for an evening they wouldn’t forget.
Jeremiah stood off to the side of the stage waiting for his cue. An Edison High School graduate, Jeremiah is now in his second semester at the University of Texas at Austin where he is majoring in biology. Jeremiah likes math and science … not public speaking.
Once called on stage and introduced, he begins his story. It’s the story of a high school club called e=mc2 that exists to help kids succeed beyond high school. The club focuses on encouraging the pursuit of math and science degrees, mentoring middle school students and visiting college campuses to make going to college seem more like reality less like a dream.
The group was selected as one of twenty Team Up Challenge semifinalists and received a $2,500 grant to keep the project going throughout the 2012-13 school year for a chance to be named a Team Up Champion and win $20,000 to fund the program for years to come. During that time, Jeremiah was thrilled to receive a Dell scholarship to attend UT-Austin.
As the school year progressed and the Champions announcement got closer, Jeremiah made a promise: if the group did not win the Team Up Challenge prize money, he would donate his scholarship to the club and the cause. In the end, everyone was a winner; e=mc2 won the $20,000 prize and Jeremiah started his college journey on the Dell scholarship.
Jeremiah got through his story leaving more than a few people in the audience teary-eyed. The evening was full of fun and full of hope and potential for the programs it supports. The Spurs family has always extended a helping hand into the community, with a heart for the city’s youth. Tux ‘N Tennies will always be a night to reflect on a history of giving and celebrate stories of success.
For more information on Silver & Black Give Back, please visit: www.sbgb.org