Holiday Raffle: Appreciation and Joy

This year’s “Jingle Mingle” annual holiday party for faculty and staff had a new twist. It took place on the Starfield in the Koch Center on a December evening after students left for winter break. Highlights included a catered buffet, faculty band, staff performers, and dancing. One attendee described it as an evening full of “fun and fellowship!”

But what distinguished the event and highlighted the sense of community we at DA have come to appreciate was the generosity of parents and students in donating items to a new Deerfield Parents Network initiative–a free raffle comprised of more than 80 packages. Faculty and staff won everything from vacations in Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, Florida, Texas and New York City to gift certificates for local Pocumtuck Valley shops and restaurants, including Blue Heron, DiPaolo’s, Hope and Olive, Yankee Candle, Bicycles Unlimited, Cinemax and Brooks and Butterfield Spa. Parents donated tickets to the American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Jimmy Buffet concert, a guided tour of Yale’s Art and Architecture Gallery, as well as Apple, Amazon, and Visa gift cards.

Not to be outdone by their parents, about 40 Deerfield students wanted to show their appreciation for faculty and staff. They donated services including: ice skating, lacrosse, squash, basketball, tennis, soccer, field hockey, swimming, voice and piano lessons, baking and decorating cupcakes and cookies, babysitting, arts and crafts instruction and dog walking. One student even donated her time to build a snowman with faculty children. Fortunately, unlike last winter, there was plenty of snow to facilitate this!!

Receptionist Cressey Belden Janko said: “This giant raffle really was the jewel of the party. The numbers of attendees swelled as the word spread about the parents’ generosity. In the beginning, we passed out lists of the choices so that winners would know what they wanted ahead of time. Arriving in the ‘Raffle Room,’ they were given a few minutes to make a decision. As one of the people helping coordinate this process, it was an absolute delight, like being one of Santa’s elves.We had many interesting dialogues, ‘Which would you prefer, a memento or an experience?’ … ‘Would you rather go out in a large group for pizza or an elegant romantic dinner?’ … ‘Are you thinking about something for yourself or someone special in your life?’ Thank you for giving so much joy to our community.”

Head of School Margarita Curtis summed up the evening as follows: “Faculty and staff appreciate enormously the parents’ generosity! Brimming with creative, elegant prizes, the Jingle Mingle Raffle filled our holiday festivities with excitement. We all thank you for your thoughtfulness.”

Cressey was kind enough to provide “live coverage” from the Raffle Room:

“I’m going to Nantucket!” first winner, Jess Day (Communications) cried out, eyes alight. She had it all planned out, what she would pick, if she won.

“Merry Christmas, honey!” Brendan (Science, Hockey) to Amie Creagh (Dean of Students) after she picked the gorgeous, hot pink Tiffany tote.

“Let’s go to Telluride!” Tim McVaugh (History).

“I want the hot watch.” Mike McCarthy (Food Services) on picking the black Michael Kors watch.

“It’s so you!” Many people to Judie O’Donnell (Head of School’s office) on winning the Tiffany croc handbag.

“Austin! Awesome!” The Ardreys (Day Care & Alumni/Development).

“Oooh, I just want to go out to a lovely dinner!” Julie Collins (Finance), going to DiPaolo’s.

“I can’t wait. I want a bike!” Sandy Yager (School Store)

“Is the photo shoot still available? That’s what we want!” The Savages (Language & Admission).

We are fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated group of people on campus who, along with their families, are a daily part of our children’s lives. Parents were excited to have the opportunity to thank them for all they do. We appreciate the participation of so many parents and students, which helped to make this effort a resounding success.

Plans for next year will be considered by Dr. Curtis, with input from the Prize Committee and the DPN.

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