Tenth Annual Live @Club Starlight

On a beautiful summer evening, hundreds of guests came out for Ross School’s tenth annual Live @Club Starlight on June 1. More than 160 Ross parents, the largest turnout of parents in the event's history, joined luminaries, alumni, faculty, and staff to celebrate. The event, made possible by Ross parents, sponsors, and volunteers, raised more than $600,000 for Ross School programs and scholarships, including the Steven J. Ross Scholarship Fund.

Ross parent Christie Brinkley chaired Club Starlight, which featured an electric performance by legendary Grammy Award–winning artist Cyndi Lauper, who sang classic songs off her She’s So Unusual album, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “True Colors,” and “Time After Time.”

The evening began with a tented cocktail reception where signature drinks and local cuisine were served to guests, who mingled and perused the offerings of a silent auction. Lots available for bidding included house seats at the Broadway show Kinky Boots, sailing lessons, and a New York Knicks jersey signed by Carmelo Anthony.

A little before 8pm, guests were guided from the tent into the Great Hall for dinner, a live auction led by auctioneer Jennifer Wright from Christie’s, and more. This year's Starlight was set up like a nightclub, with lounge areas featuring white leather couches and coffee tables located next the stage. In addition, modern, lit tables were scattered throughout the room, simply decorated with candles and glass bowls of floating peonies. Dinner comprised such gourmet dishes as lemon ginger jumbo shrimp, beef tenderloin medallions, and roasted salmon over wilted baby spinach, followed by an array of scrumptious desserts.

Gregg Maloberti, interim Head of School, introduced Nicole Ross, alumna and daughter of Founder Courtney Sale Ross. Gregg spoke about how Nicole is a “woman of firsts,” as the first Ross student, graduate, and alumni member of the board. He also recognized her passion for philanthropy and for making education accessible for all children.

Nicole talked about the importance of the SJR Fund and how it enables Ross to fulfill one of the most important cornerstones of its mission—to truly represent the entire East End and provide a world-class education to all deserving students, regardless of economics. “We can talk generally about the philosophy of scholarship giving, but to really understand its power, it’s vital that you hear from scholarship students in person,” Nicole said, introducing alumna Christin Aucapiña '12 and fifth grader Diego Vanegas. Christin was at the top of her class at Ross and became a Gates Millennium Scholar her senior year. She just completed her first year at Brown. Diego will be entering the sixth grade next year and has big plans for how he will use his Ross education to forge a stellar future and give back to his family and his community.

Next, Christie spoke to attendees of her joy as a Ross parent and expressed her pride in her children, all three of whom have attended Ross—alumna Alexa Ray Joel, current senior Jack Brinkley-Cook, and freshman Sailor Brinkley-Cook. Christie made a point of illustrating how a Ross education has augmented and supported the three siblings’ interests and passions. Afterward, guests watched a special video created by the Ross Institute about the School’s Systems course, taught by Founding Mentor Ralph Abraham.

The Live Auction commenced following the video; items up for bid included a dinner reservation at Rao’s Restaurant, four VIP tickets to the final day of the 2013 U.S. Women’s Open, and an overnight cruise on a yacht. When dinner and the presentations were over, the legendary Cyndi Lauper came on stage and turned the evening into a high-energy concert, complete with dancing and screaming fans. Cyndi not only pulled out old favorites, she also performed newer songs and chatted with the fans in the front row of the audience, making a special connection with the Ross Student Ambassadors, who were on hand to greet the guests and help out with the evening.

Guests left Starlight feeling exhilarated by the night and, of course, by the experience of watching Cyndi perform in such an intimate setting. “With a high bar now set,” enthused Director of Development Rebecca Vollmer said, “we are determined to make next year's gala just as successful and memorable!”