Community Schools / Kids

Seth Boyden’s Full Moon Rising Silent Auction Fundraiser Packs the Woodland

The following is from Alison Poe

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The PTA honored the memory of late teacher Joanne Jacques-Montilus. Her husband, Pascal Montilus, gave a deeply moving speech about the enduring power of his wife’s optimism. Photo credit: Anna Herbst.

Record crowds packed the house – and the dance floor – at Seth Boyden’s annual fundraising party and silent auction on Saturday, February 11.  A profusion of red and yellow lanterns transformed the Woodland into a wonderland for “Full Moon Rising: A Lunar New Year Celebration,” held on the same night as the first full moon of the Chinese New Year.         

Specialty cocktail in one hand, a plate of Chinese cuisine from Qin Dynasty in the other, the hundreds of partygoers mingled and jockeyed for the highest bid on some 120 silent auction items:  a photo of a jubilant Hillary Clinton taken at a rally by Seth Boyden dad Ben Lowy; a weekend at the upscale Woodloch Resort and Spa in the Poconos; baskets of toys, baskets of wine, baskets of Basquiat swag; gardening consultations, museum tours, photography sessions, custom meals, and other unique offerings from Seth Boyden parents; tickets to the Mets, tickets to live TV tapings, tickets to the Papermill Playhouse; original works of art, museum memberships, art classes, theater lessons; and much, much more.

Three teachers gave a beautiful, heartfelt tribute to the late Joanne Jacques-Montilus, a much-loved Seth Boyden teacher for seven years who focused on special-needs children.  Joanne’s widower, Pascal Montilus, delivered a deeply moving speech in accepting the honor, saying that his wife’s optimism and positive spirit lived on in her children and in the community she served.

Dancers from the New York Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club donned ornate two-person red and silver faux-fur-trimmed dragon costumes for a demonstration of the ancient Chinese art of lion dancing.  The dragons undulated and slithered to pounding drums until, baited by a masked dancer, they suddenly hurled cabbage into the crowd, where surprise turned into hilarity.  The New York Times ran a story on the club and its lion dancers just last month.

Veteran DJ Jen Jones, a Seth Boyden mom, spun a phenomenal mix – Digital Underground, the Doors, the Cure, A Tribe Called Quest – that had Principal Damion Frye, a big contingent of teachers, and a mass of other bodies on the floor dancing and cheering.  Attendees included Board of Education members Susie Adamson, Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, Madhu Pai, and Donna Smith as well as many friends and well-wishers of Seth Boyden School who wanted to show their support – and to have a great time.  Mission accomplished!  Profound thanks go to Sarah Gee, Kelly Villanueva, Caryn Emmons, Sonya Artis, Patricia Sanchez, Cesar Sanchez, Sheri Landry, Rebecca Barbacci, Rhonda Panken, Kerstin Vogdes Diehn, Anna Herbst, and Becky Hanger for making the night such a success.

Many Seth Boyden teachers were in attendance. Photo credit: Anna Herbst.
DJ Jen Jones had the crowd dancing. Photo credit: Sonya Artis.
By the end of the night, every one of the roughly 120 silent auction items had found a bidder – or many! Photo credit: Alison Poe.
Members of the New York Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club performed a traditional Chinese lion dance. Photo credit: Anna Herbst.
The place settings were exquisite. Photo credit: Anna Herbst.
The Woodland was transformed for “Full Moon Rising: A Lunar New Year Celebration.” Photo credit: Anna Herbst.
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