Annual Harker fundraiser set to change venues

February 20, 2015

The Night on the Town fundraiser will take place on May 9, the Saturday after the first week of AP exams.

The Fashion Show, which changed to Night on the Town last year, was originally held every year in February, but this year, the event date switched with the Circle Dinner, a dinner with the Board of Trustees.

Scott and Susan McNealy, parents of alumnus Maverick McNealy (‘13), Dakota McNealy (11), Colt McNealy (10) and Scout McNealy (8), will now be hosting this fundraiser at their home.

“We just got money from the fundraiser in the fall for the Events Center that is going to be built some time in the next few years,” Student Directed Showcase director and Downbeat performer Caroline Howells (12) said. “We decided that we didn’t want to have another fundraiser right after because a lot of people just donated.”

While the Circle Dinner is a more private setting, the Night on the Town fundraiser hosts Harker’s various performing arts groups.

Malvika Khanna (11), who is a part of Downbeat and will perform at this event, comments about why she believes Night on the Town is important to both the students and parents.

This event unifies the Harker community as a whole and allows all the performers to get together and have a good time with their parents and friends,

— Malvika Khanna (11)

Along with Downbeat, the Varsity Dance Troupe and Dance Fusion will be performing, and sophomore Varun Baldwa will be DJ’ing.

“I got the opportunity to DJ from Ms. Enzensperger,” Varun said. “The director of special events for the gala, Danae McLaughlin, contacted Kerry, who referred her to me.”

Tickets for Night on the Town will be sold closer to the event’s date in May.

The first of its kind

The Night on the Town, Harker’s 11th annual gala fundraiser, was held on Feb. 28, 2014 at the San Jose Marriott, and remains the first of its kind after replacing the tradition of the Fashion Show held during previous years.

The fundraiser was held with the goal of raising money to benefit the construction of a gym and theater complex on the Upper School campus. Tickets were priced at $200 with the evening including casino games, dancing, auctions, wine tasting, a show and more.

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The major difference in Night on the Town in comparison to the Fashion Show remained the targeted part of the Harker community. The fashion show incorporated students from all grade levels as well as parents, while organizers of Night on the Town focused marketing towards only parents.

This change resulted in a relatively smaller event with a more select group of attendees. Students who previously participated in the fashion show reflect on how the adjustment impacted the community.

“I think the fashion show involved students and it was a lot more interactive,” Ankita Uppugunduri (10) said. “Many people would come because friends and children were in the show, but with Night on the Town, it’s mainly the parents.”

Although Night on the Town ended as a success, the annual Harker fundraising event is set to change again to a smaller venue this upcoming year.

Flashback to the Fashion Show

The Fashion Show used to be a much-awaited Harker tradition, held annually during February as a fundraiser for the school.

Austin Tuan and Lindsey Trinh (10) perform in the 2013 fashion show. The show was themed Mission: Possible.
Special to Harker Aquila
Austin Tuan and Lindsey Trinh (10) perform in the 2013 fashion show. The show was themed Mission: Possible.

The most recent fashion show was Mission: Possible, held in 2013, and included live auctions, lunch and dinner, casino games and the show itself.

Students enjoyed the experience of performing in a fashion show, and many were disappointed with the replacement of the show with Night on the Town in 2014.

“I was kind of looking forward to being in the fashion show in my ninth grade year because I wanted to do it in my eighth grade year but I couldn’t do it,” Hazal Gurcan (10) said. “Then they took it away; it was really sad. It was really fun, and I feel like it brought the community together more than the gala that they have now.”

Other students look back on the fashion show with fond memories of performing.

It was super fun and exciting to be a part of the 2013 fashion show. Showstoppers and High Voltage danced to a short clip of the Mission Impossible theme song; it was full of stunts and we even got light up hair extensions.

— Amy Jin (9)

The experience of participating in the Fashion Show will remain etched into the minds of both faculty members and students. Although Night on the Town replaced this fundraiser, organizers hope to continue improving upon this integral component of the school’s growth by not only involving performing arts members in the event, but the entire Harker community.

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