“A Cavalier Evening in Wonderland” Proves Magical

Entering the TD Convention Center on April 20, guests at the third biennial A Cavalier Evening were greeted by a “welcoming committee” of playing card sentries, setting the Wonderland theme.

Stepping onto the escalator, they ascended to “gala level,” where they were greeted by a fantastical reception area decorated with topiaries, larger-than-life flowers, and trademark quotes from Alice in Wonderland, including “We’re All Mad Here,” “Curiouser and Curiouser,” and the infamous “Off With Her Head!”

Red-and-black clad employees from Auctions by Cellular quickly registered guests using iPads for the cell phone bidding system, one of the key innovations introduced at this gala. As the Silent Auction hall filled with beautifully attired attendees, the convivial atmosphere of the cocktail reception hummed with friendly conversation and excited chatter about bidding for the Silent Auction items and packages.

When the call for dinner came at 8 p.m., guests were seated at tables elegantly adorned with fantasy arrangements in the event’s signature red, white, and turquoise colors or with giant moss teacups brimming with white carnations and a heart-shaped center of red roses that recalled both “the mad tea party” and “painting the roses red” from Alice in Wonderland.

Following a dinner of salmon and filet, the Live Auction segment kicked off with the much-anticipated Golden Ticket drawing.  A total of 150 Golden Tickets were sold for $100 each during the cocktail reception.  The winner with the Golden Ticket was entitled to choose any of the 12 Live Auction packages, each worth thousands of dollars! 

The winner with the Golden Ticket was Kim Keable, who was so excited at her unexpected win that it took a minute or two to make her selection: the Fun in the Sun week in the Florida Keys.

Our auctioneer, Darron Meares of Bowtie Benefits and his wife, Hope Meares, CCES Class of 1996, were outstanding in presenting the items in the Live Auction.  Darron's auction experience and friendly banter helped to get the bidding going and bring in high bids for the Live Auction.

Sentimental highlight of the Live Auction was Item #9, the “Adorable Shi Tzu Puppy,” won by a delighted Amy and Mike Cooter.

Bidding concluded with the Fund-a-Need for a Welcome Station to enhance security at the campus central entrance.  Contributors all over the room raised more than $25,000 for the Fund-a-Need.

Auctions completed, guests flocked to the checkered dance floor.  Deejay Fred Rock provided the lively music and videos, which kept guests on their feet almost until midnight.


CCES Gala Coordinator Alden Pimentel praised the efforts that culminated in such a successful event, raising over $180,000. This magical night would not have been possible without the hard work and determination of an army of volunteers.  Our leaders, Carey Hudson, Jeannette Goldsmith, and Laura Mahaffey spent countless hours getting everything ready for the big night.  Auction volunteers from each grade, led by Melissa Thomason, Beth Nichols, and Annette Ferrell helped to bring in fabulous items from parents and the community.  And Jacob Mann and Stacey McManus helped to bring it all to life.  The talented decorations team of Elizabeth Mann and Jennifer Haley transformed the TD Center into a magical storybook Wonderland.The Marketing committee helped to get the word out to our community through the efforts of Allison Mertens, Pam Foster, Valerie Slade,and Ann Taylor.  Julie and Drew Brown, our Sponsorship chairs, brought in over $65,000 in sponsorships for the gala this year.  And our past co-chairs, Nan Rasmussen and Dena Benedict, served not only as reservations chairs and made our invitations; they also provided us with sage advice and counsel throughout the planning process.  In addition to these Gala committee leaders were all of those volunteers who served on individual committees and helped out at the event.  Thank you to everyone for coming together to make this a true CCES community builder.”

Headmaster Leonard Kupersmith commented, “I congratulate Carey Hudson and her gala team for providing a high-spirited, low-stress evening, and I am grateful to all who attended.  The event is an opportunity to showcase our community and build new friendships."

We look forward to the next Gala to be held in 2015.