In a year characterized by weeks of unending rain and stormy weather, Silicon Valley International School (INTL) was blessed with clear skies for our Annual Gala and Auction. This year's theme was Let’s Have a Ball! The audience enjoyed Latin-inspired dance performances as well as a theme-inspired meal.
The atmosphere during the outside cocktail hour overflowed with excitement as old friends reunited and shared complimentary “Tango” signature drinks. A brilliant crimson fabric photo backdrop allowed for guests to capture a lasting memory of the event. Guests perused the large posters displaying our “surprise” auction lot, an opportunity to experience the famed North Shore of Oahu. Attendees included a unique mixture of current INTL parents, alumni parents, alumni, and faculty. Many of the parents were new to the school and experiencing their first INTL Gala!
Guests were eager to unwind, grab a beverage, and converse with friends and colleagues. Everyone was looking forward to a great event, to continue building our community, and to coming together as one to support the school.
They say good things come threes. Once the cocktail hour ended, we officially kicked off the Gala with a trio of delightful performances representing three styles of dance from three INTL communities. Things immediately heated up with our first performance from INTL parents Benjamin Chui and Jess Kao as they rocked the dance floor with a sizzling Salsa, followed by a breathtaking Argentine-style Tango performed by Kristina Mola & Yuriy Kuvshynov from our Gala partner Areté Dance Center. The evening’s entertainment finished with a dazzling Rumba from INTL student Isabella M. and her dance partner, Dylan C.
After a warm welcome from Chief Advancement Officer Patricia Colin, the 2023 INTL Rising Star Award winner was announced. This year’s winner was Maia Chamberlain, a NCAA Fencing Champion, Princeton University graduate, and a hopeful for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics. She is currently ranked second in the country for saber fencing.
Maia’s story of resilience and success was charmingly recounted by her mother Lin who spoke on Maia’s behalf. Lin expressed her gratitude for the education that Maia received while at INTL and how it was a blessing in disguise that she stayed here after applying to other middle schools. She will be forever thankful for the successful path that the school put her daughter on.
This year’s Gala could not have happened without the support of this year’s Co-Chairs Carol Cunningham and Tate Cohn, who took to the stage with their own perspectives on what they value about INTL. This year represented an important milestone for INTL, with our two co-chairs bringing together the wisdom of an alumni parent with the fresh activity of a current parent. Carol, a current parent and an American-born Chinese who learned Mandarin the “hard way”, shared a beautiful story of adversity in her own life and reflected on how our school is providing a bilingual and intercultural education for her children that she never had but deeply craved growing up.
Tate, an Alumni parent whose three children graduated from INTL’s French program over 20 years ago, proudly mentioned the diverse multicultural journeys they set off on using the skills they learned at INTL. She also reflected on the dynamic growth of the school and how privileged she feels to be a part of creating such a diverse environment for our youth.
As the evening meals were served, other guests -particularly among our alumni parent group- capitalized on the golden opportunity to reconnect with close friends within the school community and feel united as one in the encompassing arms of INTL.
The best-performing auction lot of the night was a singular moment. Eager and enthusiastic bidders raised their paddles high in the hopes of winning a private dinner cooked, served, and hosted by Head of School Barbara Greiner. The lucky winners of this lot will be treated in the near future to a delightful four-course, wine-paired meal (wine provided by INTL parent Boris Micha) in the comfort of Barbara’s Palo Alto home. It was an exhilarating accolade for our wonderful new Head of School as it showcases the parent relationships she’s already fostered in less than a year’s time.
The greatest victory of the night was the overwhelming financial support for this year’s Fund-A-Need. Within minutes of the opening bid, over $160,000 was raised to support our teachers with continued education about the realm of neuroscientific research in child brain development. Clearly our community values the education our teachers receive as well as the education of our youth. This act of giving will directly translate into an increase in teacher efficacy, a more refined understanding of how a child learns in the classroom, and a sharper toolset for learners to absorb information.
As always, the event drew to a close with the festive crowd dancing late into the night. The evening was a smashing success. From the stunning decorations to the delicious food and captivating entertainment, every detail filled the night with magical moments. The attendees were dressed to the nines and the atmosphere was filled with excitement and joy. Everyone had a ball!