Written by D. F. Karppi Friday, 11 February 2011 00:00
The Oyster Bay High School PTSA is getting ready to host their annual Taste of the Gold Coast Gala. It is a night filled with food tastings from over 40 restaurants and sweet shops and includes wine tastings generously donated by Post Wines and Spirits in Syosset. To add to the excitement of the evening,
there is live music, raffles, silent auctions and a casino room.
This year’s Gala will be held at the beautiful Glen Cove Mansion on Friday evening, March 11. Glen Cove Mansion (formerly known as the Harrison Conference Center) is the estate of John Teele Pratt, Sr. and was built in 1930. It is one of the many Pratt estates which occupied a large portion of northern Glen Cove during the Gold Coast years.
Wendy Smith is again chairing the event. “At first I wasn’t going to do this again, but my daughter said, ‘I can’t believe that you are not doing this when I’m a senior.’ So it is my pleasure again. There is a beautiful group of women on the committee. I’ve been involved as PTA council president and then when my children were in the high school, with the PTSA. This year there are 24 different women on the Taste of the Gold Coast committee. At first, in the beginning, it was 10 to 15, then 15 to 18 and now 24. It shows that it’s a lot of fun to be on the event committee.”
A Rite of Passage
Ms. Smith said, “I hope people think of it as the event to attend. Additionally, the high school seniors like to come and help. The school social worker for SADD, helps us. That is Students Against Destructive Decisions and against drinking. Some other teachers pick kids from other groups to help out at the gala. It’s like a rite of passage as well as being a great event.
“Everyone gets dressed up and knows it is a great night out. It’s a beautiful restaurant, and there are great raffle prizes. With different committee members each year, it has a different flavor every year.
“It’s not the same every year and that is great,” she added.
Ms. Smith said one of the pleasures of chairing the event is seeing the owners or general managers of the venues they have used over the years, come out to see the event. [Over the years it has been held at the Crescent in Bayville and Oheka Castle.] “They say of our committee, ‘They are lovely people.’ The chef is impressed with what we set up. Some people think it might not be an elegant affair but after we meet with the people and they see how we carry the affair off, they are very impressed with us.”
It’s a lovely affair she said. “The reason is because everyone is relaxed and can enjoy it.”
Ms. Smith explained, “The PTSA is supposed to make a budget at the beginning of the year. It is not a fundraising group, but we make a budget and make money that goes to the school for cultural arts. That is especially important nowadays.
“Also, we [the PTSA] are supposed to create events where parents get together with the teachers and principals. It is a time to enjoy each other; and give thanks to the teachers and parents.”
She said, “Some events you go to because you have to buy a ticket and buy raffles, but this is an event that everyone enjoys going to and I am glad it has been that way, all these years. And with 24 committee members – it has a different flavor every year. I like that it’s not the same every year. It’s great.”
Wendy said over the years she has learned a great deal about working with a group from her experience with the PTA and PTSA. She said, “The chairs are not supposed to vote unless there is a tie. I learned by experience, years ago, one wrong decision and you are to blame. The best way to work with a big group is by consensus. This year we raised the price by $5. It’s not a lot, but everyone agreed to it.
“Everything goes out for a vote. Everyone has the right to voice their opinion so in the end, we win everyone’s vote.”
Ms. Smith explained, “The PTA is a national organization. I went to training and there are real rules to follow. You are not supposed to be a ‘president,’ you have to run by their rules. You obey the membership. The membership rules. I love it that way. You guide, and live by their rules. The rules tell what happens with each way of voting. But it is always the members who decide; and it is always open to discussion, which can sway the vote.”
From experience, they have learned what to do to make the gala run smoothly. She said, “This year, we will all meet at 8:30 p.m. to get photos of the committee. Things are already planned.”
Ms. Smith is a logical thinker and has a degree in engineering. She said, “When you have a list of what you have to do you only have to remember one thing. It makes so much sense.”
The Students Benefit
And the event makes great sense. “All monies raised will go directly to the Oyster Bay PTSA for scholarships, cultural arts programs and many other worthwhile events. A full listing is available on our District’s website obenschools.org” Ms Smith said. In the past monies raised have funded thousands of scholarships as well as in-house cultural arts programs. These programs support growth and achievement in academics, art, music, theater and athletics.
It is the reason Ms. Smith is proud of the event. “We have been told by first-time guests that they are sorry they hadn’t attended sooner. Whether your children are in Roosevelt, Vernon, or Oyster Bay High School, it is a fun evening going toward a worthwhile cause – the students in our district,” she said.
“While the Gold Coast Committee puts in many hours of work to put this evening together, the raffle/silent auction and Journal portion would not be possible without the generous donations and ads of local businesses and community families alike. We need your help with this,” she said.
If you would like to make a donation, or place an ad in the Journal, or to purchase a ticket, please contact them through the school website obenschools.org.
They are looking for donations such as restaurant gift
certificates, electronics, business services, spa services, tickets to sporting events, luxury accessories, trips, and timeshares. Cash donations are also gladly accepted. The committee will purchase raffle/auction items as needed. Journal ads are $50 for a half page and $100 for a full page. They will help you with an ad if needed.
The contact people on the Gold Coast Committee are: Wendy Smith, chair; Linda Stapleton PTSA president; Lynda Petrillo, PTSA member. Lisa Natale is the vice president.