Tonight I attended a special event. “Curtain Up!” was a fundraiser for the renovation of the local high school’s auditorium. Over 800 donors helped raise over $400,000 for the restoration through several different events sponsored by Achieve Foundation, which raises funds to promote exemplary public education for all students and educators in the School District of South Orange & Maplewood (NJ). One of these events was “The Night of 100 Dinners.” The auditorium has been in use since 1927 and was in dire need of a makeover! As we were led through a time line of events at Columbia, hidden treasures were revealed that had been buried under layers of dust, grime and age. There is even a historic organ that has been in an alcove for decades. Restoring it will be another big project in line for the Achieve Foundation.
The incredibly talented South Orange Maplewood school community came together for a fun night of song and dance. The talent was unbelievable! There were a few times that I had to remind myself that these were only high school kids! The mixed choir that consisted of children from the elementary schools through the high school sang a song that brought tears to my eyes.
My family has a special connection to Columbia High School. My parents both graduated from there, dad in 1963 and mom in 1964. Dave’s mother is also a CHS graduate. My siblings and I all graduated from there. This is where Dave and I met during our Senior year! Now our son DJ is in his Junior year there. Our youngest has a few years to go before he gets there, but he is expected to graduate in 2020!
The Christmas before my mom died, we bought a seat for my parents. We knew that it was CHS where they met and started their lives together. We joked that we bought them one of the “cheap seats” in the back because my mom had so much trouble with her COPD, that she always sat in the back wherever she went and we knew how how difficult it would have been for her to walk further up. If only she had been able to see it! She would have loved it! After she died, another seat was bought in her memory by her reunion class. What a wonderful way to preserve her CHS legacy.
(Dave and me Senior year)