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Benefit raises $8 million for Agassi school

A weekend benefit concert raised nearly $8 million to support retired tennis star Andre Agassi's public charter school in Las Vegas.
Image: Chris Daughtry and Tim McGraw on stage at the Agassi benefit
Frontman and former "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry of the band Daughtry and country singer Tim McGraw perform at the 14th annual Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation's Grand Slam for Children benefit concert at the Wynn Las Vegas on Saturday.Ethan Miller / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

A weekend benefit concert raised nearly $8 million to support retired tennis star Andre Agassi's public charter school in Las Vegas.

Officials say Agassi's foundation, used to support the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, also received a pledge of $7.5 million over five years from the Engelstad Family Foundation.

The Saturday concert at the Wynn Las Vegas casino featured comedian Dane Cook, rock band Daughtry, country musician Tim McGraw and R&B singer Brian McKnight.

Officials say the $7.5 million gift will be used to establish a campaign to try to raise student funding in Nevada.

Agassi's kindergarten through 12th-grade school uses the concert funds for its operating budget. The school has roughly 600 students and graduated its first high school seniors this year.

"We've lived in really fat times over a lot of these years, and these times are definitely different, but with that being said it's still a great opportunity to raise a lot of resources and also celebrate," the tennis star told The Associated Press.

Recipe for success?
Agassi said the school is an example of what education could be in Nevada and elsewhere if schools get proper funding and full support from parents.

"It's not a mystery — we haven't cured cancer over here. We're plugging away at implementing the best practices that work," the eight-time Grand Slam champion said.

That includes longer school days, mandated parent participation and volunteering, and teaching flexibility, Agassi said.

All of this year's graduating seniors moved on to higher education.

The school opened in 2001 with funding from the Andre Agassi Foundation, which has raised $75 million through the concerts since 1994 and has used other fundraisers to support the school for low-income students.

Students who apply for the school are chosen through a lottery system. Their parents do not pay tuition.

Agassi urged Nevada lawmakers in April to make education changes in a state that ranks near the bottom in national per-pupil spending and graduation rates.

He was honored last month at the U.S. Open in New York for his charitable contributions, along with Doug Flutie, Mia Hamm and David Robinson.