The annual benefit luncheon for Portland’s De La Salle North Catholic High School raised $354,000 to support financial aid. Held April 28 under a tent in the courtyard of the Northeast Portland campus, the luncheon marked 20 years for De La Salle, where students hold down corporate internships as a way to help pay for their education.

Owen O’Brien, a 2018 graduate who holds a degree from Portland State University, was master of ceremonies.

J.P. Henry, a 2011 graduate who earned a master’s in humanities from the University of Chicago, recited his poem about the 20-year anniversary.

“Wisdom, they cried, it is a right not locked behind a gate, lest some beautiful mind toil and sweat casting forms upon slate. Action then, not rote response, must the measure be. To hold a plumb line on the soul, work and experience is key.”

Henry, the first graduate to join the De La Salle faculty, teaches mythology and personal skills for success.

Kynyzya Brewer, on track to graduate in 2024, explained the importance of her De La Salle North education.

“Have any of you seen a college prep school as diverse as De La Salle?” asked Brewer, who was born and raised in North Portland. “De La Salle is breaking barriers. I hope all schools look like De La Salle someday.”

Brewer said she appreciates the demanding academics in a school where many peers look like her. Currently holding down an internship at a credit union and working nights at a restaurant, Brewer intends to become a child psychiatrist. That is possible, she said, because De La Salle staff and faculty have held her accountable.