Annual Night on the Town hosted on Friday

The+cheerleaders+practice+their+gala+routine+during+cheerleading+practice.+The+gala+featured+a+variety+of+entertainment+throughout+the+evening%2C+including+a+performance+from+the+cheerleaders+of+both+the+lower+and+upper+school+campuses.+In+past+years%2C+Jazz+Band%2C+Varsity+Dance+Troupe+and+Downbeat+were+among+the+groups+that+performed+at+the+gala.

Maya Valluru

The cheerleaders practice their gala routine during cheerleading practice. The gala featured a variety of entertainment throughout the evening, including a performance from the cheerleaders of both the lower and upper school campuses. In past years, Jazz Band, Varsity Dance Troupe and Downbeat were among the groups that performed at the gala.

A collection of students, faculty and parents attended Harker’s annual fundraising event, the Night on the Town Gala, at Levi’s Stadium’s United Club on Friday at 7 p.m.

What was previously the Fashion Show, Harker’s Night on the Town Gala, raises money for the school’s endowment. The night featured a dinner, performances from the cheerleaders, a casino and a silent auction among other entertainment.

The gala also recognized Harker athletic achievements in accordance with its location and theme, “One Team, One Dream.” Leading up to the event, junior footballs decorated with the theme “One Team, One Dream” were sold online for $15. In addition, the event included several current and alumni Harker athletes.

“In the room, there’s 109 screens. We’re utilizing those screens with a slideshow, and the slideshow will thank our sponsors, but the slideshow will also feature alumni athletes that have gone on to college to continue their athletics,” Director of Special Events Danae McLaughlin said prior to the event.

Last year, the gala took place at the home of Scott and Susan McNealy, the parents of alumnus Maverick McNealy (‘13), Dakota McNealy (12), Colt McNealy (11) and Scout McNealy (9), It featured performances from Jazz Band and Downbeat among others. This year, the gala featured a combined performance from the cheerleaders of both the upper and lower school campuses.

“The little cheerleaders are very energetic, so it takes longer to learn stuff, and the dances are a little bit easier, but our dance is pretty cool,” cheerleader Claire Newman (9) said.

Tickets for the event were sold at $200 until Feb. 16, with the price subsequently rising to $225. Reservations for a table to seat 10 were sold at $3000 each. Guest also had the option to be special sponsors with the choice of three packages: $10,000 Gold Sponsor, $5,000 Silver Sponsor and $2,500 Bronze Sponsor.

This year’s location at Levi’s Stadium, which recently Hosted Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, made preparations more challenging.

“This particular year has been a little bit more difficult because of the security requirements at Levi’s Stadium,” McLaughlin said. “Every single person has to be accounted for, so we cannot be iffy at all on the guest list; we have to have the guest list absolutely complete. Also, they have their security measures for loading and unloading, which we never had to deal with before, so we have to make sure our vendors arrive at the specific time they’re supposed to arrive.”

This year, for the first time, no performing arts groups were featured as entertainment at the fundraiser due to the lack of space. Instead, the cheerleaders’ performance fit with the athletic theme of the night.

“Again, it’s a great opportunity to showcase another great talent, a huge community of this school, which is the athletic community,” Director of Event Fundraising Tere Aceves said. “There’s a lot of the performing arts community, but we really never had the opportunity to give [the athletic community] a little light in that regard, so this gives us a huge opportunity to say, ‘Hey, guess what? We also have great athletes!’”

Above anything else, Aceves and McLaughlin hoped to work towards this year’s theme of “One Team, One Dream.”

“We want to see the community pull together. That is the most rewarding thing,” Aceves said. “Every single thought that comes in this office, comes out of this office [is about] the message. The message is one, we are one team, and we have this dream, and we are going to make it happen. And if we all pull together in the little different ways, we are set.”

“Every single thought that comes in this office, comes out of this office [is about] the message. The message is one, we are one team, and we have this dream, and we are going to make it happen. And if we all pull together in the little different ways, we are set.”

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on March 3, 2016.