The students of Higher Achievement D.C. Metro are going places.

At the youth education nonprofit’s fifth annual Going Places Gala at the Warner Theatre in Northwest Washington, students danced and shouted on stage to more than 500 supporters, many from the commercial real estate community. Through sponsorships and ticket sales, Higher Achievement raised $1.06 million at the gala. Officials said the funds will support its programming, such as college field trips and an after school academy. The organization honored Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, for her work in child advocacy. In her acceptance speech, she offered the audience lessons from the story of Noah’s Ark to increase the urgency of investing in children.

“Remember that the ark was built by amateurs and the titanic was built by professionals,” Edelman said. “It’s going to take all of us to do this.”

The who’s who in attendance included Mitchell Schear, president of Vornado Real Estate Trust; Doug Donatelli, co-founder of First Potomac Realty Trust; Christopher Gladstone, president of Quadrangle Development; Ronald D. Paul, chairman and chief executive of Eagle Bancorp; and Debra Lehman Smith, co-founder of Lehman-Smith McLeish. Other corporate sponsors included Arnold & Porter, Balfour Beatty Construction, Capital One Financial and the Carlyle Group.