Archive » May 18, 2006
Parents Night Out
By Julia Rodgers
WELCOME TO DR. SEUSS CRANE-VILLE
With its new arts center and library as the focus, Crane Country Day School celebrated its auction by transforming the campus into a colorful and whimsical Dr. Seuss “Crane-ville” in honor of children’s arts and literature.
With Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” as the theme for the evening, hard-working parent volunteers recreated exact scenes from the book, with elephants hanging from pink trees and giant swaths of striped fabric dripping from the walls and eaves of the new buildings.
“We just created these wonderful new buildings, so we wanted to celebrate in this magnificent courtyard,” said Scott Brittingham, president of the Crane Board of Trustees, referring to the school’s new 3,600-square-foot library and 1,800-square-foot arts center, which opened in January.
Tiffany Foster, a Crane parent, mother of three children and Harvard MBA, was chair for the event, using her extensive business knowledge and boundless energy to organize volunteers to work effectively and efficiently.
“This event was parent-directed and parent-driven,” said Head of School Joel Weiss. Even though Crane has been without a director of development since last fall, the auction raised more than double the amount of last year’s event, Weiss said.
The money was raised to support the school’s efforts at promoting ethnic, cultural, racial, socioeconomic and geographic diversity among its student body.
Just before the live auction began, Weiss surprised Crane’s director of admissions Debbie Williams by honoring her 30 years of service to the school. Weiss announced a new scholarship fund in her name, which will be devoted to continuing to embrace diversity at the school.
“As director of admissions, she has the unique role of building the very fabric of our school,” Weiss said, as he stood in front a giant photo of Debbie as a first grade teacher in 1976. “We want Debbie to know what she’s done for our school and our families.”
Crane School is already a leader in promoting diversity among its student body, in part because of Williams’ past efforts. The school gave away more than $700,000 this year in grants, one of the largest amounts given away by an independent school of its size in California, Weiss said.
Some of the key parent volunteers included: Cyndi Richman, Daryl Stegall, Marion MacNeil, Molly Green-Brock, Trish Soriano, Cynthia Spivey, Lorie Bacon, Mei Sheng Russo, Beth Green, Jeppe Madsen and Gayle Brinkenhoff.
Creativity ruled the evening with the Crane campus awash in the many pastel colors found in the book. “It was so magical. It was a fairyland,” said décor chair Cyndi Richman. She and her creative team spent hours ripping and sewing 1,000 yards of fabric, collecting and spray painting driftwood and creating grass mounds studded with flowers – all to create a perfect Seuss look.
The creativity didn’t stop with the décor. Guests sipped blue “Rainbow Fish’s Ocean Potion” cocktails, munched on “Green Eggs and Ham” deviled eggs and indulged at the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory dessert buffet. After dinner, the band Area 51 performed late into the night for a jam-packed dance floor.
Top sponsors of the event included: Rita and Doug Otto, Elisabeth and Greg Fowler, Pat Aoyama, Carrie and Tom Cusack, Scott and Ella Brittingham, Meghan and Robert Stoll, Ann and Dave Fristoe, Kevin and Nancy O’Connor and Tiffany and Frank Foster.
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