As fun as it was busting into our taco boxes at Saratoga Independent School’s Big Night IN last year, there was no doubt that the crowd last Thursday night was so excited for their, once again, Big Night OUT. The annual benefit to raise money for their Annual Fund and classroom technology was a huge success… once again surpassing their goal.
Each year Saratoga Independent School brings parents, teachers and community members together to raise money and toast to the accomplishments of the school. This year was a big one, celebrating 30 years since SIS opened, with only six kindergarteners in the basement of a church. And since then, they continue to pride themselves on their commitment to community, students’ social readiness, and their student / teacher connections. The evening opened with a warm and happy welcome from Bob Ahrens, the engaging and dynamic new Head of School, who began at SIS last summer. A common fixture at drop off, always showing his spirit in fully festive garb, whether it be the holiday season or pride month.
The stellar weather was the perfect backdrop for the Pitney Meadows event space. Guests thoroughly enjoyed food by Airstream Catering, just as much as visiting the SUPER cute mobile bar by Saratoga Draught Horse, leaving plenty of space for a dance floor (to which the group wasted no time hitting… and quite early in the evening!)
I guess it was no surprise that the beloved Garland Nelson double-timed as parent and auctioneer extraordinaire that evening. In addition to the money raised for the Annual Fund, the school had a goal of $12,000 to upgrade each classroom with technology. They made it clear that these “screens” would not be replacing in-person instruction, but instead, supplementing it with enriching experiences for the students. Visions of field trips to Spain and book clubs with students on the West Coast (combined with Garland’s energy, of course) quickly surpassed the evening’s goal, adding even more to the school’s Annual Fund.
As in past years, the highest valued silent auction item was a quilt that the students worked countless hours to construct… with help from parents Betsy Olmsted and Caressa Himoff. Usually donated back and added to past years’ quilts that proudly adorn the school.
And it was no surprise that the second highest bid, once again, went to a movie night… allowing one lucky student off-hour access to the school to enjoy a movie and treats with 10 friends.
Event co-chairs Erica Fuller, Jen Allen and Meredith Woolford celebrated the event’s success. But not as much as the teachers who attended that evening, who are happily anticipating all the trips around the world they are about to take with their students.