On March 2nd 2016, the annual “SIP” took place at The Gregory School. Like most years, this year’s gala served as one of TGS’s primary fundraising events. Like most years, this was an evening where TGS parents and board members could enjoy an evening of tasting wine. Like most years, the SIP had a silent auction, where prizes ranging from flowers to golf lessons to luxury resort stays could be purchased.

Unlike most years, however, the event took place on campus. Unlike most years, SIP was on a Wednesday night. And unlike most years, the head of school sang the night away with a current TGS student.

At 6PM on Wednesday March 2, 250 TGS parents dressed up and came on campus in order to support their child’s school. Upon parking their cars and walking toward the El Mirador Gymnasium, parents were greeted by the bagpiping of TGS’s own Ron Bowen, the campus facilities manager. At the entrance to the event, parents were handed a “SIP Passport”, and were greeted with a glass of champagne.

Upon getting food, drinks, and sitting at tables, parents heard the choir sing and the band play. They saw students walking on stilts like fairies. College counsellor David Schindel even worked at the grill that night. Finally, the MC for the evening, …, came to stage and reminded parents of the exciting activities all TGS students were engaging in. Finally, head of school Dr. Julie Sherrill and senior Daniel Rosenberg took the stage and sang a duet to “Prayer.”

There was also a silent auction that took place, with items ranging from wine to wine tasting events to a cruise to overnight stays at luxury hotels to golf lessons to a year’s supply of flowers. Other items on auction were VIP parking, David Crosby tickets, rounds of golf at both La Paloma, Skyline, and Tucson Country Clubs, University of Arizona basketball tickets, a “Pet Resort” basket, waterford vases, a Betty White signed memorabilia, a Nolan Ryan jersey, an aquamarine necklace, a silver jewelry set, a bubble necklace, a fair amount of other jewellery, graduation seating, locker choices for children of TGS parents in each grade for next year, an art lesson with TGS teacher Virginia Encila, student photography and artwork, a day at the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, in addition to other things.

“The event was at school for the first time in awhile this year mainly because of the price,” development director Sarajane Trier said. “Having the event at a place like Loews or Tucson Country Club would be for much more, and would net the same amount. It also kept the school at the center of the event. When I asked parents after the event, 100 percent of them said they would want to have the event on campus again.”

Because the event took place on campus, the Family Association was able to charge only 40 dollars per ticket as opposed to over 100. “This attracted a much larger crowd,” Trier explained.

Some TGS parents were very upset that SIP took place on a Wednesday, right in the middle of the work week. “I’m going to change that in the future,” Trier said. “It will likely be on a Friday, and for a longer period of time, because parents were having so much fun and not ready to leave when we shut down the auction.”

The event, all in all, was a huge success. “I’m very excited by how well it was,” Trier said. “But I have my sights set, much, much higher for the future.”