As we celebrate the success of The Harker School’s recent, first-ever fashion show fundraising event reported in this issue, we also celebrate the many other parent fundraisers in Harker’s long history of parent fundraising!
Through the 1970s, along with the annual Family Picnic, the Harker Father’s and Mother’s Clubs sponsored spaghetti dinners, holiday dances, boutiques and candy and bake sales to support the costs of building the Sports and Recreation Center. The spaghetti dinners were completely prepared and served by parents, organized by Marty and Dorothy Scarpace, parents of Marty (’76) and Kristen Giammona (’81), and Earl and Margarita Parsons, parents of Jon (’76).
The evening included a raffle with prizes such as a 10-speed bike, Sony battery operated TV and signed footballs and basketballs. Live entertainment was provided by Dan Gelineau, then dean of students, on accordion and Jeff Haugaard, former boarding director, on banjo. Through the combined efforts of our wonderful parents, these fundraising projects helped provide our students with a first-class facility.
The Harker Academy’s Gala Spring Auction began in April 1984 with elaborate, fun items and adventures that were put up for bid by an auctioneer. How much would you offer to ride “shotgun” with the county sheriff for a day? How about a 1949 Dodge Coronet Coupe or a private plane ride to The Nut Tree in Vacaville for lunch? Or perhaps you’d prefer to bid on a 1986 49’ers football signed by Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. These were only some of the wonderfully creative items offered at the 1980s Harker Academy Auctions. With themes like New York, New York (1986) and Juke Box Saturday Night (1987), the staff who worked the events usually dressed for the theme of the evening, and these first-class events brought the entire Harker community together for a great cause.
Current picnic coordinator and board member Lynette Stapleton was a parent at Harker when the first Gala Spring Auction was held in 1984. Tony and Becky Morici, parents of David Hare (’82), Tony (’89) and Alexia (’90), made Italian food, and the Harker staff were waiters in the gym. Stapleton laughed, “I remember the Morici kitchen lined with over a dozen pans of pasta.” The Parent Guild assembled hundreds of items, and each classroom made homeroom packages that were themed for both a silent and live auction.
“Each year the gala became grander until it finally moved off campus in 1986,” said Kelly Espinosa, current K-6 dean of non-academic affairs and then recreation director at Harker. The annual auctions have continued to the present as part of a long tradition of having fun and raising money for the school. Proceeds go to a specific project each year. They’ve included the Scholarship fund in 1984, the Fine Arts Program in 1986 and the Computer Science facility in 1987 and 1988. The auctions were sometimes held as a stand-alone event or coupled with a wine tasting, as in 1985, and they eventually became an important part of the annual Family Picnic celebrations in 1989.
This year we once again made history with another “first” for Harker, as we enjoyed our first fashion show featuring our very special Passion Showcases and live auction – sure to become another Harker tradition!