On Saturday, April 21, 292 members of KO faculty, parents, and alumni attended the biannual Celebrate KO Gala at Delamar Hotel in West Hartford from 6 to 11 p.m. The purpose of the gala was to raise money for the annual fund and the Parent Association. The theme for the event was growth, change, and the future.
A parent committee of 15 parents led by Parent Association President Heather Clifford and Co-chair (of the committee) Mary Carangelo organized the program. The committee met frequently over the course of the last year to organize and plan the event. “The committee worked really well together; we had a lot of new people and we had a lot of fun,” Ms. Clifford said.
Ms. Clifford said that they raised more than $148,000 overall, which was a new record. “It went extremely well, and we were very happy with the success of it,” she said. “It was a wonderful to have the community come together.”
There were many silent auctions during the night through an app called BidPal. There was also a live auction of items including a puppy, graduation seats for families, two years worth of parking spots, dinners, and jewelry.
Evan Kelmar ’16 was the MC for the night, and Middle School English teacher Kyle Chapman was the auctioneer for the live auction. In addition, Head of School Dennis Bisgaard and his wife, Monica Bisgaard, gave a speech, and as introduced next Head of School Thomas Dillow and his family. Sophomore Juanita Asapokhai also gave a brief speech about her experience at KO.
Many of the attendees of the gala enjoyed the overall atmosphere of the night. “The venue was great, and the food was really, really good,” Director of Summer Programs and Facility Rentals Sheri Shea said.
Board of Trustees Treasurer Jean LaTorre agreed that it was a tremendous experience. “I thought it was very well done and had a very positive energy to it,” she said. Ms. Carangelo said that she thought the night played out beautifully. “It was the highlight of the year as far as community is concerned, and it did a great job bringing people together,” she said.
Spanish teacher Brenda Semmelrock said it was her first time at the Delamar Hotel and she was impressed with how great everything turned out. “I think it was a great celebration of the school and raised some money,” she said. “It was fun being with my colleagues, and we got to be with each other in a different way while having a good time.”
Dean of Students William Gilyard said that he thought the event was really well put-together and organized. “It is really challenging to put together a huge event like that, so kudos to the committee of parents,” he said. “I thought it was elegant and very well-done.”
Mr. Bisgaard said that the event was great for the community to come together. “It was a great celebratory community event,” he said.
Ms. LaTorre agreed that every aspect of the event felt very celebratory of the school. “Evan Kelmar and Mr. Chapman both did a great job and were very funny,” she said. Mr. Gilyard agreed that Evan and Mr.Chapman were very funny and engaging with the audience.
Mr. Chapman said that he was honored to be able to be a part of the event. “It was nice to be there with all my colleagues, and it was awesome that it went well for KO,” he said. “I said I would do it because I love Dennis and since it was his last year, I wanted to be there and do what I could, to be a part of his last gala.”
Juanita said she was humbled to be able to share her experience at KO with everyone. “I wanted to convey that your journey on campus here is totally up to you, and I felt supported to have my teachers there,” she said. “I thought it was very well orchestrated by the Parent Association.”
Ms. LaTorre said that this celebration was extremely memorable. “It was incredibly successful in how it was fun and it did its job in raising money,” she said.