Everywhere within Santa Rosa’s rocking Friedman Center on Saturday night, the talent, enthusiasm and gratitude of students from the city’s public secondary schools was proudly on display.
The occasion: the fourth annual “Night Under the Lights,” a dinner, dance and auction showcasing the musical, culinary and other achievements of teens engaged in enrichment programs at the middle and high schools.
Host of the celebration was Schools Plus, the more than 20-year-old endeavor by parents, educators and business owners to keep essential funds flowing to the schools’ sports, music, art, drama and other co-curricular offerings.
Schools Plus has contributed more than $4 million to those programs — $160,000 last year alone.
The happy crowd Saturday night thrilled and swayed to performances by school bands and choirs. No one could have missed the call to come in from the reception on the patio and take a seat for dinner — it issued from Elsie Allen High’s renowned drum line.
Dinner was prepared by students trained in Maria Carrillo High’s award-winning culinary arts program.
A live auction featured many high-end lots and allowed students a chance to share what they’ve gained from the programs supported by Schools Plus, and to urge generous donations to sustain them.
And then, dancing to Odd Man Out.
— Chris Smith