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Dayna Steele & Charles Justiz

November 11, 2010

The stars were in alignment for the newest Champions of Literacy — literary power couple Dayna Steele and Charles Justiz — at the 18th Champions of Literacy Series event.The Downtown Club at Houston Center was full of friends and well wishers for the couple, as well as for Literacy Advance.

Steele is an author, business entrepreneur and Houston rock radio diva, and her husband Charlie is a pilot, professor, PhD and the author of the new sci-fi thriller Specific Impulse.

Michael Garfield, the "High-Tech Texan," kept things lively as the emcee, but the evening's stars were Jeanne Saletan, volunteer tutor, and her adult student, Tony:

"I had been looking for a meaningful volunteer experience, one where I have a sustained relationship with people. At Literacy Advance I have found my niche by tutoring adults like Tony."

Tony resisted a childhood assignment to special education classes and managed to graduate from high school. "Deep down I still knew I couldn't proceed any further because my reading and writing were not good enough." Tony and Jeanne have been working together for a few months and are making great strides towards Tony's goal to attend community college by September, 2011.

Kristi and John Schiller were Honorary Chairs for the event. Kristi joined friends to support and honor their good friends Steele and Justiz. Part of the evening's festivities included the event's annual big draw, "What's Your Favorite Book?" Silent Auction. Included among the responses to Dayna and Charlie's request were those from Carmine Appice, original drummer for Vanilla Fudge; David Crosby of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash (and later "and Young"); Elayne Boosler, comedian; Paul Begala, former White House advisor to President Bill Clinton; and Billy Mumy, child actor and longtime friend. Astronauts Walt Cunningham, Bonnie Dunbar, as well as Shuttle Commander Tom Henricks also offered up their favorite reads.

The audience included: a number of former champions of literacy including Larry Dierker, Dwight Edwards, Valerie Koehler, and Jana Mullins; former astronauts Walt Cunningham, Apollo 7 and Bonnie Dunbar; both Dayna and Charlie's mothers, Fran Nicholson and Gloria Justiz.

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