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Rock Around the World A Success!

The Portland Public Schools’ first Rock Around the World celebration since the pandemic, hosted by the district’s Multilingual and Multicultural Center at Ocean Gateway on April 26, was an unqualified success. The sold-out night of international food, dance and music was attended by 250 members of the community and raised funds to support Make It Happen, the award-winning college-readiness program for PPS multilingual middle and high school students. 

The event included delicious foods from around the world; dance instruction from sensational performers; a 50/50 raffle; and the dynamic musical stylings of DJ Sergio Cahueque, the co-host of WMPG’s radio show “Our Latin Thing.” In addition, there were live, silent and online auctions featuring items and experiences generously donated by Southern Maine community members and businesses. 

Watch a colorful News Center Maine (Channel 6) report on the event HERE.

All proceeds raised will help foster equity in the Portland Public Schools by supporting Make It Happen, the district’s transformative college-readiness program for multilingual students. Make It Happen, founded in 2007, serves language minority students across Portland’s public middle and high schools, providing enrichment opportunities, college admissions support, and personalized and structured academic coaching. Make It Happen is crucial to helping students raise and realize their academic aspirations. Many of the program’s graduates are the first in their families to attend an institute of higher education. In 2021, Make It Happen was the Grand Prize winner of the National School Board Association’s Magna Awards. The Magna Award honors districts across the country for programs with proven results that advance equity and break down barriers for underserved students.

The Portland Public Schools thanks all the attendees and the donors who helped Rock Around the World make such a successful comeback. Special thanks go to the following major sponsors who were instrumental in making this event a success: firstly, to our Global Giver sponsor, Coffee By Design; our Future Builder sponsor, the John T. Gorman Foundation; and our For Love & Hope sponsors: Tandem Coffee Roasters, Maine Community Foundation, Maine Language Connect, Gorham Savings Bank, IntWork, Nick Whiston Real Estate, and Eri Design!

Rock Around the World 2024 photo of attendees hugging
Rock Around the World 2024 photo of dancing
Rock Around the World 2024 photo of MLMC staff
Rock Around the World 2024 photo of dancers in colorful costumes
Rock Around the World 2024 photo of MLMC staff in various costumes
Grace Valenzuela, founder of the Make It Happen program