Universal's Jeff Shell and Director Robert Rodriguez Honored at Promise Gala

Alex J. Berliner
Jeff Shell

1,200 L.A. students attended the event that took place at the Universal Studios Hollywood Park

If you're bringing 1,200 students by bus to a theme park, the last thing you want is a bomb scare shutting down the freeway.

Luckily, the students coming Sept. 30 evening to the Universal Studios Hollywood Park for the LA's Promise event had arrived just before the 101 Freeway was closed. (No bomb was found.) However, some of the nonstudent guests attending the sit-down part of the program honoring Universal Filmed Entertainment chairman Jeff Shell and director Robert Rodriguez in the Globe Theatre might have been delayed.

The idea behind having the event at the theme park was to allow 1,200 L.A. school students who had perfect attendance for the first 12 weeks of the semester go on the rides for free. And the adults, who came to see Shell and Rodriguez, didn't have to sit through another standard hotel dinner.

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L.A.'s Promise works at aiding students at the Manual Arts, West Adams Prep and John Muir schools to be ready to attend college or start a career. "They focus on the whole student," says board member Megan Chernin. "These kids have major barriers to success in life and what Promise's does is help with health, academics and the wellness of the whole student."

Board member Frank Marshall said, "You can see the way this program is changing lives. You go down to Manual Arts High School and you can see the change. It's incredible. It's incredible."

Among those at the annual event were Promise's founder Veronica Melvin; Universal's Ron Meyer and Donna Langley; host Tyrese Gibson plus supporters Peter Chernin, Elizabeth Banks, Stephen Prough, Taboo, Kathleen Kennedy and Chris Meledandri.

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