This article was originally published in the Harker Quarterly Spring 2011 Edition
The eagerly awaited fashion show 2011 “When I Grow Up … Dream Big!” lived up to its name, with a big, exciting event. At the two shows, more than 1,000 guests were greeted at the Santa Clara Convention Center by middle school student hosts and led to the event foyer, where they could peruse the beautifully decorated tables filled with auction items. Some tried their luck at the gift wheel, while others headed into the ballroom to find their tables and listen to the Harker Jazz Band, directed by Chris Florio.
Elegant tables decked out with floral centerpieces surrounded a cross-shaped runway flanked by three active video screens. Chris Nikoloff, head of school, welcomed guests and introduced the show’s honorary chair, Diana Nichols, with a short video clip. Pictures of Nichols as a child and a voiceover explaining her passion for science provided a nostalgic introduction to Nichols herself, who took to the runway to thank the guests, sponsors and fashion show committee for their work.
The show’s theme was creatively interwoven throughout by show director Laura Lang-Ree, chair of the performing arts department. Before and during fashion segments, video screens showed clips of teachers and staff sharing their dreams and giving advice on finding one’s passion. Along with taped video, live video of the action brought excitement and immediacy to the proceedings; J Gaston, graphic arts teacher and Office of Communication videographer, and Adi Parige, grade 12, were on the sides of the room handling the live video cameras, a new addition to the production this year.
But what about the fashion? Macy’s of Valley Fair and Eli Thomas for Men of Santana Row provided most of the clothing, and the Giants Dugout Store even got into the action for a segment dedicated to our own hometown World Series heroes. A total of 83 student, faculty, staff, parent and alumni models strutted their stuff with confidence and delighted all with their style and personality. Varsity Dance Troupe, Downbeat and Dance Fusion wowed the crowd with stunning routines, and Downbeat also provided a vocal backdrop to the final modeling segment.
At the evening show the fun continued after the fashion portion with a live auction, ably led by Harker favorite Damon Casatico. He cajoled, wheedled and prodded guests to raise paddles for tickets to the Grammy and Emmy awards, spectacular vacation trips, a quilt made by our kindergartners, a flyover with the San Jose Police Department and much more. Guests relaxed their grip on their paddles after the auction and hit the dance floor, enjoying the terrific cover band, The Cheeseballs.
It took only a few days for the exciting totals to be tabulated, and Sue Prutton, fashion show liaison and upper school volunteer director, happily reported that the fundraiser was very successful. The live and online auctions raised $83,270, and our sponsors, advertisers and gift wheel participants contributed $126,730 to the proceeds, which support two main funds: financial assistance through the Financial Aid Fund to students who would otherwise be unable to benefit from a Harker education; and Phase 4 of the capital campaign, including the construction of a theater and gym on the Saratoga campus.