Written by Elizabeth Menges Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00
On May 3, Garden City Public Schools and the Garden City PTA welcomed nearly 120 senior citizens and past parents to its Third Annual Afternoon Tea. The afternoon’s festivities were free to Garden City residents and included delicious food and various teas served by volunteer high school students. The event took place in the high school cafeteria, cleverly transformed into a lovely venue, and included a K-12 art display, and incredible entertainment from the district’s talented elementary, middle and high school musicians and performers.
The ladies of Garden City dressed for the tea in elegant dresses and fancy hats with suit-coated gentlemen on their arms, a sight perfectly matched to the opulently decorated tea tables, each one a different English garden- or spring-themed wonder of tablescaping. District administrators and members of the board of education mingled and conversed with the guests.
Local businesses partnered with the district and the PTA to provide the china and silver creamers (The Garden City Hotel), the tea and finger sandwiches (Chartwells), and delicious desserts almost too beautiful to eat (The Cupcake Corner, Bagelman, La Bottega, and Riesterer’s).
For the third year, The Garden City Hotel generously provided $25 gift cards for each attendee. Garden City’s PTA donated the tablecloths, and door prizes were donated by Starbucks, My Three Sons Bagel Café, Garden City’s Continuing Education program, and, courtesy of high school guidance counselor Joanne Meyer-Jendras, gift certificates to Joinus Nail Salon and Exclusive Barber Shop.
Highlights of the afternoon were the students who volunteered their time to honor the guests as their servers, and those talented young musicians and artists who provided the entertainment and the backdrop of beautiful art works. Thirty-eight members of the high school’s Key/Interact Club and advisor Joanne Meyer-Jendras served the delicious food donated and prepared for the tea and tended to guests’ needs during the event. Four student groups entertained with outstanding vocal and instrument performances.
After the attending veterans led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance, the high school’s vocal jazz ensemble, under the direction of music teacher Robert Ludwig, sang the National Anthem. The afternoon’s entertainment included performances by the lead characters from the middle school’s Cinderella, who sang and danced the ballroom scene from their recent production (Kristin Aguilo, director; Nancy Menges, musical director). Performers from Stratford’s The Music Man, Junior, sang and danced “76 Trombones,” “Til There Was You,” and “Shipoopi” (Meredith Lavin, director), and two groups from the high school performed: the cast of Beauty and the Beast sang favorites such as “Me,” “Something There,” and “Beauty and the Beast” (Stephen Mayo, director) and the chamber orchestra, under the baton of Margaret Gullotta, performed “Scarborough Fair,” “Nordic Waltzes,” and West Side Story’s “Somewhere.”
In addition to the aforementioned sponsors, many others joined together to offer this annual event honoring our senior citizens and past parents, and the district would like to acknowledge their support and thank: AAA Party Rentals, Alma-Lillian Abruzzo (www.thetablescaper.com), and the district’s PTA for acting as escorts and providing the beautiful table arrangements, centerpieces and flowers; district food services director Diana Intintoli, chef Jimmy Green, and Joanne Meyer-Jendras for coordinating food services with 38 student servers; Dr. Nina Prasso, district coordinator of Music and the Arts, for coordinating the musical performances, and high school lead art teacher Shawn Uttendorfer for coordinating the K-12 art display; Stephen Mayo for providing sound support for the performers; Eddie Beska and the high school facilities staff for the room setup; high school aAssistant principals Dave Perrotta and Kevin Steingruebner for coordinating the musical performers; the Afternoon Tea Committee for its assistance in planning and coordinating the tea (Garden City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Althea Robinson; PTA Executive Board President Gail Madigan; Executive Board President-Elect Cris Kilberg; past PTA executive board presidents Julie Germano and Liz Menges; high school PTA Director Beth Kramer, the PTA’s Alma-Lillian Abruzzo; Steve Mayo, Dr. Nina Prasso, Diana Intintoli, Joanne Meyer-Jendras, and Coordinator of Public Information Catherine Knight); all the student performers and their parents for sharing their amazing talents with our guests, and, of course, to our honored guests, the senior citizens and past parents of Garden City Public Schools.
Next year’s afternoon tea is sure to be another hit not to be missed. The tea will be listed on the 2012-13 school calendar and parent guide mailed to homes in August. Remember the event is free, but registration is first-come, first-served and reservations fill up fast, so check your calendars and watch for more information next spring.