Wednesday, December 13 , 2017, 7:18 pm | Smoke 53º

 
 
 
 

Spring Gala Emphasizes the Country in Crane Country Day School

Crane Country Nights gala co-chair Sarah Muzzy, left, with Joel Weiss, Crane Country Day School’s head of school; Debbie Williams, Crane’s director of development; and gala co-chair Hannah Gimbel Dal Pozzo. Click to view larger
Crane Country Nights gala co-chair Sarah Muzzy, left, with Joel Weiss, Crane Country Day School’s head of school; Debbie Williams, Crane’s director of development; and gala co-chair Hannah Gimbel Dal Pozzo. (Teresa Pietsch photo)

The stage was set for an elegant country evening under the stars, complete with the twinkling lights, warm candle glow and — two strolling miniature horses?

Yes, indeed. More than 240 folks got all gussied up (think cowgirl chic, outlaw duds and on-point prairie wear) for Crane Country Day School’s annual Spring Gala and Auction last Saturday.

The diminutive equine partygoers drew endless oohs and ahs, provided Snap-worthy photo ops and did their part to manicure the Crane foliage. Human guests, meanwhile, began the night nibbling tasty appetizers (veggie sliders, anyone?), quaffing cocktails, catching up with friends and fellow Crane supporters, and marveling at how the skies had magically cleared just in time for the spring shindig to kick into gear.

Themed Crane Country Nights, the festivities took full advantage of the school’s new Oak Tree Quad, which along with the Design and Engineering Center, are the most recent additions to the Crane campus. The sprawling oak offered the perfect backdrop for guests who wanted to peruse the bounty of silent auction items being offered. Gaming tables in the Crane Saloon proved a draw for others.

Intrepid gala co-chairs and Crane parents Hannah Gimbel Dal Pozzo (class of 2001) and Sarah Muzzy met when their daughters (Peyton and Tyler, respectively) became Crane kindergarteners nearly three years ago. The two women have been close friends ever since.

"We are both fairly casual people,” Muzzy said. “ We like being outdoors, we like animals, our daughters ride horses, so we thought, let's imagine an elegant country event that we ourselves would want to attend."

In other words, this would be no ordinary hoedown, hence the hay-strewn pathways, serape-draped hay sofas, and those ambling four-footed friends. White linen and burlap dressed round dinner tables. Succulents atop a tree slice served as centerpieces. Candles in glass and iron lanterns offered flattering illumination. Gimbel Dal Pozzo and Muzzy orchestrated a night that was simultaneously lovely and lively, chic yet a bit cheeky, refined and still downright fun.

Guests at Crane’s Spring Gala and Auction enjoy the evening’s Wine Pull.
Guests at Crane’s Spring Gala and Auction enjoy the evening’s Wine Pull. (Teresa Pietsch photo)

After dinner, guests demonstrated overwhelming support for the school, bidding on a number of live auction items. Among the most sought-after were an overnight voyage for six to the Channel Islands on an 80-foot yacht; a “Pick Your Paradise” trip to either Italy, Bali or Africa; and a two-week stay in Aspen. However, the piece de resistance auction “item” that had students talking all week came with four (make that eight) legs: two “Puppy Packages,” each with a 12-week-old yellow lab, brought the highest bids of the night.

“Part of what makes our families and their children so enthusiastic about this school is our emphasis on experiential learning,” Head of School Joel Weiss said. “That said, everything that happens here begins with our excellent teachers, each of whom brings something unique to their classroom.”

After Weiss’ passionate words, a brief film was shown that highlighted Crane’s Teaching Fellowship program, now in its third year.

“This program gives promising young teachers an opportunity to come to Crane for two years and train with a master teacher,” Weiss explained. “In doing so, we hope to help solidify their belief that teaching is among the most worthwhile and valuable pursuits.”

An ensuing paddle raise in support of the fellowship program brought a ready, enthusiastic and generous response.

Country lights at Crane’s Spring Gala and Auction.
Country lights at Crane’s Spring Gala and Auction. (Teresa Pietsch photo)

“I’m always touched by how much people love this place,” added Debbie Williams, Crane’s director of development, commenting on the evening’s success, “and I’m always grateful for the support they show for the school.”

Gratitude, in fact, was to be a key element of the evening. In a poignant touch, each parent received a handwritten thank-you letter from his or her child. The students had been asked to express appreciation for something the parent had done for the child.

Later in the evening, guests kicked up their heels on the dance floor, returned to the gaming tables or lounged with friends amid the hay bales, many sharing tales of their children’s Crane adventures.

“We realize how fortunate we are to have our kids go to a school like Crane,” Gimbel Dal Pozzo said. “We think our children also realize how lucky they are to go to Crane. These notes are a way to remind us of why we’re here and why we’ve chosen Crane for our family.”

Click here for more information about Crane Country Day School, or call 805.969.7732.

— Elizabeth Karlsberg is the parent of a sixth-grader at Crane Country Day School.

Guests raise their paddles to support Crane’s Teaching Fellows program. Click to view larger
Guests raise their paddles to support Crane’s Teaching Fellows program. (Teresa Pietsch photo)
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