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How did Springs school get Bush to visit? It wasn't easy

By: CAROL MCGRAW
January 24, 2011
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photo - Former President George W. Bush signs a copy of his book "Decision Points" at a store near his Dallas home, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010.  Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE
Former President George W. Bush signs a copy of his book "Decision Points" at a store near his Dallas home, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE 

So how did Colorado Springs Christian Schools snag former President George W. Bush for its 40th anniversary fundraiser in April?

Since it’s a faith-based school, yes, there was a bit of prayer involved, said Superintendent Roland DeRenzo.

But it also took three years of heavy-duty letter writing back and forth with Bush’s staff, and filling out a lengthy application outlining the school’s leadership structure and focus.

“We are thrilled and humbled by the opportunity,” DeRenzo said.

It all started in 2008 when CSCS music teacher Cynthia Fox sent Bush her CD  “America God Bless” by way of acquaintances of a Bush Cabinet member. They heard back that Bush liked the music and had said a prayer for the school, DeRenzo said.

Since they were on his radar, the school started vigorously campaigning to have Bush visit after he left office. They even moved the school’s 2009 fundraiser from January to June to better their chances. But alas, that visit fell through.

Not at all daunted, they kept at it. After all, they’d attracted President Ronald Reagan’s son Michael Reagan and retired Col. Oliver North to past events.

They thought having Bush for their anniversary celebration would be icing on their birthday cake. The school — which has 850 K-12 students on campuses in Colorado Springs and Woodland Park — was founded 40 years ago. Its budget is $8 million.

Shortly before Christmas, school officials heard that the former president’s visit was a go.

“I spent my Christmas vacation reading his book,” DeRenzo laughs, noting Bush will discuss his best-seller “Decision Points” at the dinner.

The former president will be given the school’s Lion Heart award for dedication to education. Past recipients have been Steve Schuck, founder of Parents Challenge; Richard Saunders, of Colorado UpLift; and former state senator and Congressman Bob Schaffer.

The dinner, to be held April 16 at The Broadmoor, is open to the public. Tickets are $250 each, and corporate tables are available. Proceeds will be used for student scholarships and operation costs. For information, visit www.lionsheartgala.com or call 268-2139.

By the way, DeRenzo said, the PTA moms aren’t practicing any security moves. The Secret Service, and the hotel, have that covered.

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