It was the feel-good event of the year. A sell out crowd of 292 attended the school fundraiser Celebrate Kingswood Oxford, aka CKO, at the new chic boutique hotel, The Delamar, in West Hartford.
"The CKO committee knows how to throw an amazing party. They've worked tirelessly throughout the year and paid attention to every detail. They show what our community is all about: deep dedication, warmth, and a whole lot of fun. I've been honored to work with this incredible group, “ Head of School Dennis Bisgaard said.
The event was chaired by Heather Clifford P ’17, ’19 and Mary Carangelo P ’16, ’18 who brought their enthusiasm and dedication to spearheading the event. They were surrounded by a rich talent pool of parents who worked endlessly to make certain that the entire affair was on point. The CKO Committee consisted of Gul Aslan ’22, Sharon Boyd P ’18, ’21, Sandy Brown ’15, ’17, ’22, Sudhakar Dalavi P ’21, Sheila Dawson P ’20, ’22, Karen Diaz P ’19, Elaine Lesham P ’19, Anthanette Mapp P ’24, Jodi Pimentle P ’18, ’18, ’22, Teresa Ravalese P ’15, ’17, ’20, Ruth Rossi P ’18, ’21, Lisa Schwartz P ’21, Susan Seaver P ’21, ’23, Eileen Stephan P ’21, ’23, Melissa Vaughn P ’20, ’21, ’23, and Meghan Wildstein P ’22.
Middle School teacher, Kyle Chapman P ’23 emceed the live auction segment of the event and kept the energy at a high level. He gently ribbed the audience to bid higher on the items if they truly loved their children. He also tasked Head of School elect Tom Dillow, who attended the event with his wife Deidre, to aggressively call for snow days next year since he might not be as familiar with the concept as he hails from a Florida school. The showpiece of the live auction was the 12-week old caramel colored goldendoodle puppy that looked like it was plucked from a toy store shelf. Other top selling items included Yankee - Red Sox tickets, a dinner for ten at Zohara restaurant and an in-home cooked meal by local restaurateur Billy Grant.
Director of Athletics Debbie Fiske and coach Matt Kocay brought home the “Tap to Give” portion of the evening to the finish line.
Backtrack vocals supplied a steady stream of crowd-pleasing a cappella tunes from Motown to Bacharach hits. The event featured two student speakers, Evan Kelmar ’16, Dartmouth ’20 and Juanita Asapokhai ’20 who both spoke eloquently about how their KO education challenged them to move out of their comfort zones and experience new and exciting opportunities. Evan jokingly pleaded for a ride home from the audience once the event ended.
As this was Dennis Bisgaard's last gala since he will be leaving to head a school in Washington, D.C., Clifford toasted the legacy that the Bisgaards have left on the school. She said, “I believe that Dennis’ philosophy is that success is not found in perfection. He is less concerned with his school raising perfect students but deeply concerned that it raises good people...Your indelible mark has been made and in doing so you have helped thousands of young adults enter the world as global thinkers, oriented toward community service and the ability to get things done.”
We’re still wondering if Evan got a lift home.