Press release from Rumson Country Day School
Family and friends of The Rumson Country Day School community came out to celebrate Headmaster Chad B. Small’s last year at the school, during the RCDS Gator Ball on Saturday, February 8.
Gator Ball is the Parent Council’s signature fundraising event of the year, and benefits a wide variety of educational programs for RCDS students. The black-tie event, which was held at the school’s completely transformed Blake Gymnasium, included entertainment by the popular Monmouth County band Brian Kirk & The Jirks, as well as silent auctions and a live auction led by Nick Dawes from the PBS television series Antiques Roadshow. Among the items auctioned was a final chance to serve as RCDS “Headmaster for a Day” with Headmaster Small, before the school year ends.
From left: Krista Long (Gator Ball Co-Chair), Kristi Stoever (Gator Ball Chair) and Jennifer Steiner Crowell ’88 (RCDS Parent Council President).
Guests enjoyed an evening of elegance that began with a lively cocktail hour, followed by dinner and dancing. In anticipation of the event, Lower School students’ artwork was featured in the Children’s Corner for the silent auction. The silent auction also included jewelry, tickets to a Broadway show, golf packages, photography, wine, desserts and floral design — in addition to a multitude of popular school experiences that included two sleepovers at RCDS (one for boys and one for girls), designing and naming a special sandwich for the RCDS lunch menu, and more.
This year, the Gator Ball Ad Journal went digital as the Gator Ball Family Album. The new family album streamed live at the event, with best wishes to Headmaster Small, special thanks to teachers and family and school photos. Kristi Stoever served as Chair and Krista Long served as Co-chair. The Gator Ball sub-committee chairs included: Samantha Popham (Decoration Chair), Maryann Baret (Gator Ball Digital Family Album Chair), Tiffany Senft (Gator Ball Digital Family Album Co-Chair), Denise Thomas (Auction Chair), Kim Jarck (Auction Co-Chair); Deborah Eckert (BidPal Liaison and Tuition Raffle Chair), Estelle Ketterer (Past Chair and Parent Council Liaison), Carol Cerussi (Children’s Corner Chair) and Diana Stumberger (Children’s Corner Chair).
On behalf of the RCDS Board of Trustees, a special direct appeal for the school’s endowment was made by Board Vice President and current parent Steven Scopellite, in honor of Headmaster Small’s final year at The Rumson Country Day School. When Dr. Small first arrived at RCDS, the endowment was $100,000, and now 25 years later, the RCDS endowment sits at $10 million. That evening, the endowment appeal yielded $327,500 and the direct and silent auctions together yielded $150,000, including an incredible $35,000 raised for the esteemed Headmaster for a Day live auction item alone.
About the evening, Dr. Small remarked: “This was a very special evening for me as this is my 25th and final Gala. It was truly an honor to be honored, and I am immensely grateful to Kristi Stoever, Krista Long and their entire committee of volunteers for the countless hours – and years – of service.”
Dr. Small also paid tribute to the entire school community who has given their time and attention to the children of RCDS, observing that “parents, teachers and administrators work together for our students’ future.” He also thanked the RCDS Parent Council (headed by Parent Council President Jennifer Steiner Crowell ’88) for supporting the school’s mission and values, and the Board of Trustees for their collective vision and leadership.