Everything has been leading up to this moment: the culmination of 30 years of upstanding educational practice and many, many hours of planning from the dedicated event team.
Every detail has been sorted and the Chesapeake Academy doors sat open, welcoming friends and family for the live and silent auctions, a champagne stroll down memory lane and of course, delicious food and general merriment to celebrate the Chesapeake Academy.
Parent volunteers Tina Leong Schwartzberg, Sandra Welsh and Katalin F. Hlousek donated their time and creativity to make Memory Lane a reality. They wanted to celebrate the school's humble beginnings in a hair salon so they simulated a salon and provided a photo history of the school's growth over the years.
They also made sure to play and display plenty of 80s music and memorabilia - think Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dirty Dancing records - and Glo-Worms.
After a nostalgic stroll, everyone registered, picked-up their bidding paddle, had their photo taken (if they so chose) and proceeded into the decorated tent where the auction items were waiting amongst flower arrangements, lounge areas and candles. The other side boasted a dance floor, tables, a DJ booth and catering stations.
Folks mingled, studied the items and bid on favorites during the silent auction portion, although there was nothing silent about it. It was clear that many of these parents are also friends, and they were enjoying time to catch up and chat or enjoy the musical selections of DJ Cowboy Mike.
Eventually, the fragrances from The Classic Catering People, based in Owings Mills, wafted over the divider and lured the crowd to the other side where dinner and drinks awaited.
"I love to work with Chesapeake Academy," said Pressman. "The company is so supportive of what they do and they really are like a family."
As plates began to clear, 103.1 WRNR's Carrie got on the mic and encouraged guests to boogie to some more 80s music while she got set up, and the auction began.
"To be able to get out in the community and participate in such an honorable cause is humbling. I am truly honored to have been asked to take part," said Carrie.
The goal of this year's soiree was to reflect upon 30 years of growth and accomplishment and to raise money to invest in the school's future. New athletic fields, a nature trail and SMARTboards are all in the queue for Chesapeake Academy and thanks to Saturday's auction, they are closer than ever to becoming a reality.
"We are on track to have the most successful auction in school’s 30 year history," said Advancement Director Chris Stewart.
The true gift came when Board of Trustees Chairperson Keith Bozeman took the mic as the final (and most coveted) piece of art was being auctioned. The 4-by-6-foot cake portrait, created by Jonnie Friedman, was originally going to the highest bidder just like each item before it, but Bozeman had something far more inspirational in mind.
He stood before the crowd and encouraged the families to rally together to "take the cake." Many families and some teachers collectively purchased the beloved cake art which was immediately donated back to the school where it will stay for years to come.
Co-chairperson Susan Leonard reflected on her experience: "We chose not to take the cake, but to give the cake back - and now, not only does the front hall Chesapeake tile landscape capture the essence of what happens when adults and children join together, now we have the 30th Anniversary Cake Masterpiece to hang on the wall as an illustration for current and future generations of what it means to truly give."
Thanks to the families, teachers, friends and vendors, the Chesapeake Academy raised approximately $103,000 and counting. If you missed out, reprints of the children's art are available here through April 15.