By Debbie Kelley
The star power hasn't faded.
Heisman Trophy winner, former Denver Broncos quarterback and minor-league professional baseball player Tim Tebow is returning for an annual fundraiser for Colorado Springs' largest Christian school.
Already, the response is overwhelming, said Roland DeRenzo, superintendent of Colorado Springs Christian Schools.
"We had almost 2,000 people when he was here four years ago," DeRenzo said, "and a lot of those people want to see him again."
Tebow will conduct a 45-minute question-and-answer session with attendees of the 11th annual Lion's Heart Celebration, which will be held Feb. 6 at The Broadmoor hotel.
The event is open to the public and serves as the school's major fundraiser. Proceeds help keep tuition costs affordable for the private school, which has 914 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, DeRenzo said.
"We haven't raised tuition for at least five years," he said. "This covers what tuition doesn't."
The event raised about $90,000 last school year, when Hillary Scott of the band Lady Antebellum was the celebrity speaker. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's talk in 2015 netted more than $100,000.
"With all the bad stuff that goes on in our world, it's nice to have a night to enjoy the good things the community represents," DeRenzo said.
Tickets are $85 per person and include dinner. Tickets can be purchased online.
The event will also include a large silent auction for all guests.
The school established the Lion's Heart award a decade ago to recognize outstanding contributions in education and leadership.
This academic year's Lion's Heart award will be presented to Dan Bongino, a former U.S. Secret Service agent for President Barack Obama, a Fox News contributor and the author of "Guarding the President."
All 10 past Lion's Heart award winners, who include Tebow, have been invited to attend for a reunion.
"He'll headline honoring the previous recipients," DeRenzo said.
Tebow gained attention and celebrity status for leading the Broncos to a wild card playoff victory in 2011, taking to one knee in private prayer after a good play, and displaying outspoken Christian beliefs as an athlete. He's done missionary work and been a motivational speaker throughout his sports career.
More details about the event can be found at www.cscslions.org.