Get Your Hawaiian Shirts Out, Spring Social Is Coming!

At the heart of Silver Spring Day School’s mission is a dedication to community. The importance of community underlies the school’s philosophy and many of its activities. And there is likely no example of community more profound than the annual Spring Social—the school’s largest fundraiser, and an awesome party, which takes place this year on Saturday, May 21.

UPDATE: See how much fun we had this year?

The Johnsons, in full luau costume

Like much of what goes on at SSDS, the Spring Social is lead by parents and is, largely for parents. As Adrianne Johnson, co-chair of the Spring Social committee said, “The goal is to put on a great event for parents.”

*Tip: Why not buy tickets in advance right here? It’s cheaper than waiting to get them at the door. You can also win great prizes when you order in advance—just ask Bill and Carolyn Burns, parents of Will in Ms. Rebecca’s 3s, who won a gift certificate for All Set Restaurant and Bar. The next winners will be announced on Thursday, May 19. 

“Serving on the auction committee has been a labor of love,” says Adrianne Johnson, shown about with her kids. “Working alongside other parents and seeing their talents in action has been incredible.  And while the hours are long in the end we throw one heckuva party.”

SSDS families regularly get a sense of community at drop-off or on co-op days. What is not as evident is the breadth of the SSDS community that includes teachers, staff, parents, students, local businesses and even national chains. Take these statistics:

  • Seven committees are either fully or largely dedicated to supporting the Spring Social
  • Three dozen parents are members of these seven committees
  • Eight months of planning are necessary for a successful event—they start meeting in October!
  • 197 items have been donated, from gift cards and hotel stays to horseback riding lessons or vineyard tours
  • 73 items or packages will be available for the silent auction
  • 13 items will be bid upon during the live auction

While these statistics are impressive, the behind-the-scenes is what’s really telling. At the final in-person planning meeting, about 20 parents gathered in the SSDS parent lounge. The tasks to be assigned and executed before the doors open on the 21st were overwhelming, but the creativity and energy in the room was a reminder of why the SSDS community is so vibrant.

*Tip: Check-out auction items in advance as you may want to consider going in on some items with family or friends, such as timeshares.

The truth is, the SSDS community is downright talented. Lyle Turner is a parent with a flair for photography who created the evening’s slideshow featuring SSDS students. (Psst: Don’t forget you can help out by uploading your co-oping or playground pictures to Smug Mug. Maybe your child will be in the slideshow!)

“The event itself is such a great opportunity to hang out with other parents from class,” says Erica Heinsman, shown above with her children.” I went for the first time last year, and was really nervous about not having any to talk to. Once I connected with other classroom parents, I discovered how fantastic and truly interesting people they are!”

It’s been hard to miss the colorful banners and signs adorning SSDS with information on the event. They were all designed by Alison Whitty who also designed the webpage for ticket sales and managed the whole marketing campaign. Teachers and staff are also highly involved—Ms. Carol (and some Little Uers!) designed the centerpieces and the financial logistics of a night of bidding are supported by Diána Hromockyj.

But it’s not just a matter of applying day-job professional skills. The list of contributions from event coordinators Cindy Newland and Elizabeth Leibundguth is seemingly endless but one story captures its essence. In their mission to secure Hawaiian-themed decorations at little to no cost, they scoped storefront displays and asked managers to donate the décor. Some stores obliged but Cindy was told by one manager that it was store policy to throw the display away. Frustrated by the wastefulness, Cindy persisted but was told managers must physically dispose of the display. Her response? Ok, just call me when you’re taking it down to the dumpster!

See you at the Luau! (Photo of late afternoon surf at Maliko Bay, Hawaii, 1973, courtesy U.S. Archives)

Keeping costs down is a priority and, again, the whole community helps make that happen. Perhaps you made it out to El Golfo or over to Sweet Frog on a day when a portion of sales went to SSDS? Those fundraisers helped to offset the approximately $10,000 costs of putting on the event. Lauren McShane organized them all, a great example of SSDS parent talent and the generosity of local businesses coming together.

Sheer time and energy cannot be overlooked. Kelsey McAllister is on the support committee, and Co-chair Erica Heinsman described her as “always first to volunteer for important miscellaneous tasks.” When you get a drink, raise your glass to Kelsey because it’s likely she did something to make sure that drink made it to that glass.

*Tip: This year’s event has a Hawaiian theme and there will be a costume contest with PRIZES! Want to leave dress up to the kids? No worries, attire is casual.

All of this work would be for naught, however, if it wasn’t for the generous support of local businesses. Katrin Sparico from the Solicitation Committee has done an amazing job of organizing a huge number of donations. Fortunately, her job was made easier by the willingness of the Silver Spring business community to support local schools.

“Downtown Silver Spring businesses were very receptive. They all want to support schools. Eight of ten businesses we approached donated in some way,” Katrin said.

Some of the donations stem from parent affiliations. For example, Roxy Aponte of Alchemy Hair Salon donated hundreds of dollars in products and services. Other generous donors include Woodmoor Bakery, Lebanese Taverna, Marriott (which donated 15 stays at hotels from DC to Philadelphia), and Capitol Bike Share—a new business relationship for SSDS. And, of course, we can’t overlook the night’s fare and entertainment offered at a steep discount by local catering company, Kaimana’s Katering.

*Tip: Be sure you ask your babysitter to stay late—impromptu afterparties are where lasting relationships are solidified!

See how much fun Lindsey and John Tessada had at the Western-themed social last year?

Though it takes the whole community to put on the Spring Social, it takes the parents to make it a party. So buy your tickets, leave your kids at home, and come celebrate with your community!


By Korin Davis (mom to Faye, Ms. Judy’s 3s and Amos, SSDS ’14)