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The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

The Virtual Hub for the Media of the The Benjamin School's Upper School

The Pharcyte

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BASH 2024: Parents and Faculty Feel “Wild About Benjamin” After An Incredible Night

According to organizers, BASH 2024, held on Feb. 24th at The PGA National Resort and Spa, was a huge success with tickets selling out in just three minutes, a total of 1.6 million dollars donated to the school, including more than 600,000 dollars raised to support faculty and staff in the “Call From The Heart.”

The planning process for BASH is a year-long endeavor that begins shortly after the previous year’s event wraps up. Working closely with the organizing committee, goals are set, vendors are selected, locations are secured, and efforts are made to acquire auction items, sponsorships, and merchandise. Special Events Manager, Mrs. Kristen Maltese, helps oversee this process to ensure a successful BASH each year. 

“As the largest and only major fundraiser for TBS, BASH requires meticulous planning and coordination. In the weeks leading up to BASH, my duties evolve based on pending deadlines. This may involve finalizing reservations, coordinating décor arrangements, confirming vendor details, and ensuring clear communication with volunteers, including faculty and parents. My role in planning BASH encompasses a year-long commitment to orchestrating a successful fundraising event for TBS,” Maltese explained.

Chief Development Officer, Mr. Juan Carlos Fanjul ‘93, also plays a role in executing a successful and prosperous BASH each year. Working in tandem with Sheena Wilber, Director of Annual Giving and Special Events, and the BASH co-chairs, the group mainly focuses on the fundraising aspect of the event and how best to raise money for the school and teachers. 

“In addition to ensuring a fun night for all, this great team of volunteers and staff work to secure silent and live auction items in a variety of categories like travel or health & beauty to ensure there is something for everyone. Once these items are secured, our co-chairs and volunteers line up interested donors to make sure we raise as much money as possible for our school,” Fanjul said. 

Each year BASH embraces a new theme that shapes the decorations, color scheme, and overall atmosphere of the evening. This year, under the theme “Wild About Benjamin,” the venue was covered with leafy greens, exotic flowers, and unique animal prints and feathers. BASH Co-Chair Christina Nihan felt that the theme this year was truly special and helped ignite a passion and excitement not only for the event but for the entire school community. 

“We wanted a theme that was easy to conceptualize, understand, and execute but also one that evoked the passion and adoration that so many parents feel about the school. This theme allowed us to really explore why we love our school so much. From the faculty and staff to the academics, arts and athletics, TBS traditions, and everything in between, there are so many reasons to be Wild about Benjamin,” Nihan explained.

The evening began with a cocktail hour where guests viewed the wide array of over 500 displayed silent auction items while having the chance to walk around and mingle with other TBS community members. At 8pm, guests were ushered into the main dining room for the live auction, Call From the Heart program, dinner and dancing.  While guests entered the ballroom and found their tables, they were welcomed with a drumline performance. Guests enjoyed a surf and turf dinner while raising their paddles high to bid on auction items from Napa and Scotland trips, to private dinner experiences, to first-class plane tickets to anywhere in the world. After the fundraising program ended, guests filled the dance floor in celebration. 

Bash Co-Chair Kaitlyn Axelrod felt that the event ran incredibly smoothly and was especially proud of the Call From The Heart donations. 

“The most special moment of the night was our Call From The Heart paddle raise, which raised funds for a one-time bonus for our full-time faculty and staff.  It truly showed how wild about Benjamin our parents are as so many raised their paddles to give back to our incredible faculty and staff.  After the fundraising program ended, guests filled the dance floor in celebration,” expressed Axelrod. 

Attendees too thoroughly enjoyed the event. Board Chair, Mrs. Sasha Klein loved BASH and felt that there was a great environment of enthusiasm and anticipation among attendees. 

“There were so many amazing connections and conversations among friends and fans of TBS and its efforts to continually deliver a world-class educational experience for our students, and prideful moments to our parents, teachers, staff, and alumni. I thought that the band was amazing, the mood was relaxed, and I cannot thank enough the 150 volunteers and TBS staff who planned and executed a flawless evening, and without whom it would not have been possible,” said Klein.

Overall, BASH 2024 seemed to be an exceptional event not only raising funds for the school but also providing parents with an unforgettable experience to cherish.

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About the Contributor
Chase Zur, Associate Editor
Chase Zur is a sophomore and this is her second semester in The Pharcyde. Chase has attended The Benjamin School since WOW and is excited to start her second year in the Upper School. She enjoys watching sports and spending time with friends and family. As a second year staff writer, Chase is looking forward to taking on more articles and improving her journalistic writing in The Pharcyde. 

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