“Lights, Camera, Auction!”- Maranatha’s First Benefit Gala
by: Julianna O'Malley '18 and Brenden Derbish '18
Throughout the night, the 245 attendees (a sold-out crowd) experienced a night of dancing, eating, and fellowship, culminating in both a live and silent auction that all lent themselves to a lively and exciting event. In total, the event was a smashing success, with around 100,000 dollars being raised.
From 5:30 to 10:00 on the evening of March third, the Westin Hotel of Pasadena hosted a score of stars, decked out in their best “Old Hollywood” attire. No, these stars were not Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lawrence, but rather the Maranatha community, who came together for a Gala to raise money for a new “Technology Integrated Lab” at the school. Throughout the night, the 245 attendees (a sold-out crowd) experienced a night of dancing, eating, and fellowship, culminating in both a live and silent auction that all lent themselves to a lively and exciting event. In total, the event was a smashing success, with around 100,000 dollars being raised.
The set-up did not disappoint. Attendees were greeted with a red carpet, and “paparazzi” waiting to photograph them. Upon entering the space, they would first notice the big, bold MARANTHA letters being illuminated by spotlights on the wall. The room was alive with jazz music played by Marantha’s own choir director, Mr. Adam Rupp, and his band. Everything down to the centerpieces were elegant and bold, worthy of a real red-carpet party. Mr. Greg Parker, one of the attendees and a teacher at the school, praised the event, saying “The food was great, everything was great. They really did a great job.” With such a grand set-up, the rest of the night had to be stellar. And sure enough, it was.
The aspect that all interviewees mentioned as a highlight of the night were the auctions. Mr. Justin Coleman, the Director of Development at Maranatha and the head of this entire event, enumerated some of the items that were up for grabs: “We offered get-aways to Hawaii, a week at a home on Balboa Island, tickets to the Dodgers, and the Lakers, and the Kings. We even sold front-row tickets to graduation, and a reserved parking spot at the school”. This proved to be a huge success, and attendees bid furiously for all of the items. Mrs. Nahigian, who identified the silent auction as her favorite event of the evening, stated, “It was great because you got to walk around and chat with everybody. There were so many families there, and it was a great time for fellowship”. The event had something for everyone, and left all attendees satisfied, which is important with a 100 dollar entrance fee. With the overall positive reaction to the event, it is sure to be redone in future years.
When asked about the experience of setting up the event, Mr. Coleman was ecstatic to share: “I've been doing this for twenty years, putting on big events. It was an amazing experience. We were blessed with so many volunteers, gifts, and talents. It all went so well! I'd love to see it grow, and get more of the Maranatha community to join us”. The lab is set to begin installation this summer, with the hope that it will be available for student use next school year.