Auction Gala Dinner Dance 2015: Reach for the Stars

Item14AuctionCollage7The 2015 Auction Gala Dinner Dance for Dwight-Englewood School took place on February 28
 at The Rockleigh country club in Rockleigh, NJ. As is tradition, the fundraiser for the School’s Faculty and Staff Development Fund also honored a few of D-E’s exceptional teachers and staff members. Special Events Director Bea Movsesian stated, “We chose the theme of ‘Reach for the Stars’ for Auction 2015 because we believe that this is something that the faculty and staff of Dwight-Englewood prepare our students to do every day!”

The event kicked off with cocktails and a Silent Auction, which featured hundreds of items in categories that included Around the House, Health & Beauty, Entertainment, Gourmet & Getaways, and Sports & Electronics. Auction guests then enjoyed dinner and dancing to live music by the New York-based
party band Booga Sugar. The Live Auction featured many enticing items for bid, including a 2015 Mercedes-Benz, a table for six at the famed Rao’s, premiere seating for a Yankees vs. Orioles game,
 and a 201 Magazine photo shoot.

During the evening’s festivities, Head of School Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett recognized the three Auction honorees:

  • Carole DeVito, the current chair of the History Department, joined the D-E faculty in 1979. She has taught a variety of courses over the past 35 years, including ancient and medieval history, art history, and European history. She was on the founding committee that created the now well-established D-E Senior Focus program along with two colleagues, Rob Brisk and Peter Herzberg. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including two Fulbright awards, one to India and one to Japan. DeVito has participated in NEH seminars and has received awards for her teaching from the University of Chicago and Stanford University, and she spent a full year at Columbia University as a Klingenstein Fellow studying independent schools and preparing a project on a feminist re-vision of art history. She credits D-E for educating her daughter and son-in-law, Sara ’91 and James Farnsworth ’83; introducing her to her husband, the veteran faculty member Pasquale DeVito; and giving her a life of community, support, and endless stimulation and growth.Item14AuctionHonorees
  • James “Bud” Praylow started at D-E in 1999 as one of the first security personnel for the School. Praylow provides campus security during the evening hours and “so much more,” according to Special Events Director Bea Movsesian. Movsesian notes, “Bud takes care of everyone at the School who is here for after school events, making sure all students are picked up, everyone is safe, and that the campus is secure. He relates
well to parents, students, staff, administration and the community, upholding his high moral character and telling a few riddles here and there.” In 2002, Carpe Diem, the official D-E School Yearbook, was dedicated to him.
  • Fifth grade teacher Erik Swanson has been teaching science and social studies and assisting with the Creating Original Opera Program at D-E for 10 years. He says, “One of my goals as
a teacher over the years has focused on keeping my students excited about their learning with the hope of fostering a life-long passion for learning. In science, for example, I try to make many of my lessons hands-on. I want the students to be the scientists to instill ownership over their work. Learning is fun, and the more active students are in their learning
process, the more success they will have academically and socially.
We encourage students to take chances and to try even when they
are not sure of the outcome. I also
try to model this in my classroom by trying new ideas, from Responsive Classroom techniques to mindfulness practices. We are all life-long learners if we want to be.”


Event Highlights

Big-Ticket Items: Rao’s Table at $13,000 — sold twice; new Bulldog puppies at $10,000 each — sold twice.

Net Income: $275,000-$300,000

Attendees: 410

Live Auction Income: $100,000

Thanks to the Auction 2015 Steering Committee!

Auction Chairs

Lenora Klein

Robin Modell

Acquisition Chairs

Monica Borg

Julie Diaz

Display & Decoration Chairs

Kelly Sacks

Miyako Hontani Schwartz ’81

Invitation Chairs

Nila Festekjian

Mary Ann Guerriero

Marcia Knowles

Souvenir Journal Chairs

Abbey Braverman

Kate Rodgers

Alumni Liaisons

Christine Campos Semsel ’86

Julia Hollander Weksler ’85

Special Events Director

Bea Movsesian

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