A sold out crowd of 400 guests and supporters gathered on Friday, May 10th at the Garden City Hotel to celebrate the Waldorf School’s 65th Anniversary Gala.
The evening honored seven individuals from the School’s faculty, alumni, and parent communities who have made contributions to the School and the greater community. Attendees also enjoyed a dazzling night of celebration that included a fun cocktail hour with music by the High School Jazz Band, a silent auction, and an opportunity for hundreds of Waldorf families and graduates to renew old connections and make new ones. "The event was a success in every way," said Marjorie P. Jean-Paul, Waldorf’s Director of Development. "Members of the community near and far came out to celebrate our School, honor our leaders and raise financial support for the School. The overwhelming response for the event generated over $260,000 to benefit the School’s Scholarship and Endowment Fund along with two special projects – building a new greenhouse and refreshing the pre-school classrooms." The silent auction alone raised over $36,000 and featured over 90 items ranging from handmade crafts to original paintings to fabulous vacations in the Caribbean, Europe, Colorado, and Florida. One silent auction item in particular – a handmade wooden barn set made from reclaimed wood and constructed by current parent John Hiris along with a set of felt animals created by members of Waldorf’s Parent Craft Circle – sold for a record $2,000.
"I also want to gratefully acknowledge our sponsors for their help in underwriting this special event," said Ms. Jean-Paul. "Without their generous support, this event would not have been possible."
High School Chairman Roland Rothenbucher and Waldorf parent Kate O’Connell emceed the awards ceremony and set a wonderful tone for the evening, skillfully balancing humor and sincerity. Receiving the Spirit of Waldorf Award was Bruce Travins, who retired in 2010 as the School Librarian after serving for over twenty years. Former faculty members Jo Ann Shaw and Rebecca Soloway – who both retired in 2011 after 24 years of service – were both recipients of the Distinguished Faculty Award. A graduate of the class of 1990 and the former president of Inference Data, Nicholas Croce (who passed away in 2011) was the posthumous recipient of the Outstanding Alumni Award. The School was honored to welcome to the event the Croce family who graciously received the Outstanding Alumni Award on behalf of Nicholas. Longtime Board of Trustee member Marilyn Cranin received the Franz E. Winkler Leadership Award. Receiving the Hans Rudi Brechbühl Service Awards were John and Kristin Miller. A former board member, John co-chaired the School’s capital campaign in 2004. Kristin, a former class teacher, is now a member of the School’s Board of Trustees. Their daughter is currently enrolled in the School’s Parent-Child Program and will begin Nursery in the fall.
Above, the 2013 Award Recipients (L-R): Bruce Travins (Spirit of Waldorf Award), Jo Ann Shaw (Distinguished Faculty Award), Marilyn Cranin (Frank E. Winkler Leadership Award), Rebecca Soloway (Distinguished Faculty Award), and Kristin and John Miller (Hans R. Brechbühl Service Award).
Above: The School was honored to welcome to the event the Croce Family who graciously received the Outstanding Alumni Award on behalf of Nicholas Croce '90. Sadly, Nicholas passed away in 2011.
Guests enjoyed and took home beautiful herb plant centerpieces created by Waldorf alumna and co-founder of Blooming Urban Design Scapes (B.U.D.S.), Jennifer Dorman Weuker ’95 – with assitance by numerous Waldorf students. (Central to the Waldorf curriculum, students actively work in the School’s gardens where they engage in hands-on learning.) Consistent with the evening’s 1940s theme, Seth Travins ’93, a Waldorf graduate and the son of Bruce Travins, and his band The Blue Ribbon Boys, performed music for dancing that featured early swing jazz, rural folk, and old-time blues. One alumna, Irin Carmon ’01, a journalist and frequent contributor to MSNBC said, “It was a remarkably elegant, yet authentic evening. I was so glad to be present to join in standing ovations for those teachers that have made a difference in the lives of my family and me. There was a real sense of intergenerational continuity, too." Daneille Colding ’94, an interior designer and recent winner of the HGTV reality TV show Design Star, said, "I had an incredible time. The gala embodied the spirit of the Waldorf community by being very classy, extremely down to earth, and as always with a bit of quirkiness thrown in for good measure. I was humbled and inspired to be in the presence of so many who have shaped who I am today."
The Waldorf School of Garden City offers classes from Nursery through 12th Grade, and is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America. Based on the insights of Rudolf Steiner, Waldorf schools are the largest independent school system outside of parochial schools, and can be found throughout the world. The Waldorf School of Garden City has continued in this esteemed tradition, offering a curriculum that balances arts, science, and humanities and awakens independence, curiosity, and a life-long desire to learn.
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