In addition to the fashion show, which began in 2004, Harker has had a number of different fundraising events through the decades.
In 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 Kristin Giammona ’81, and Earl and Margarita Parsons, parents of Jon ’76. The evening included a raffle with prizes such as a 10-speed bike, a Sony battery-operated TV and signed footballs and basketballs. Live entertainment was provided by then dean of students Dan Gelineau on accordion and former boarding director Jeff Haugaard on banjo. Through the combined efforts of Harker parents, these fundraising projects helped provide 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. Prizes included the opportunity to ride shotgun with the county sheriff for a day, a ride in a 1949 Dodge Coronet Coupe, a private plane ride to The Nut Tree in Vacaville for lunch and a 1986 49’ers football signed by Joe Montana and Bill Walsh. These were just some of the creative items offered during the 1980s at the Harker Academy auctions. With themes like New York, New York (1986) and Jukebox Saturday Night (1987), the staff who worked the events usually dressed for the theme of the evening, and these events brought the entire Harker community together for the 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, summer programs director.
The annual auctions were part of a long tradition of having fun and raising money for the school. Proceeds went to a specific project each year. They 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.
In 2004, Harker introduced the fashion show as its main fundraiser, featuring students, faculty and staff as its models and incorporating an auction into its festivities. Each year the event features a different theme.