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Gala 2024 Was a Shining Moment of Philanthropy

Peppers, puppies and pop stars was the order of the evening at Oaks Christian School’s annual dinner auction gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The school’s premier night of philanthropy and fellowship returned a second time to the iconic venue with over 500 guests in attendance to enjoy a night featuring Motown legend Diana Ross and celebrity emcee Jay Leno.

Themed “One Shining Moment,” the inspiring evening raised funds for all OCS programs through the live auction, the online auction (setting a record at $126,00 raised), sponsorships and table sales.

“The purpose of tonight is to support students. Oaks Christian is a beacon on the hill and a beacon in the community,”’ said Head of School Rob Black.

Guests enjoyed a delightful welcome hour reception, followed by a gourmet dinner and student entertainment before Leno kicked off the evening with his punchy one-liners and comedic talent.

Back for another year was professional auctioneer Jim Nye who pleaded, pressured, and prodded guests to open up their hearts and wallets to support the school. The three biggest live auction items were a Los Angeles Rams VIP package for $50,000, a pair of adorable 10-week-old Australian doodle puppies for over $50,000, and several tours of Jay Leno’s Garage (with his classic car and motorcycle collection) which totaled over $50,000.

A last-minute surprise included an appearance by Colby Parkinson, OCS Class of 2019 and newly signed Los Angeles Rams tight end. He helped auction off the first, newly-minted Rams No. 86 Parkinson jersey, much to the delight of the audience.

Part of the lively bidding wars were premium tickets and a private jet to a Red Hot Chili Peppers live performance, a pair of Super Bowl tickets, and exclusive trips to Cabo San Lucas, Maui, and the Mexican Riviera.

Before Ross took the stage, OCS students shared their thoughts and talents.

Senior Shelby Snyder, who will major in criminal justice this fall at Boston’s Northeastern University with hopes of joining the FBI, recounted how Oaks Christian has shaped her since her seventh-grade year.

“The person I will become in college is because of Oaks. For that I am eternally grateful,“ she said, acknowledging the mentorship and guidance of faculty and the support of friends.

SEE ADDITIONAL PHOTO GALLERY BELOW STORY

Senior Hannah Lowe, an aspiring vocalist and student in the school’s Institute of Arts and Innovation, thrilled the audience with her powerful rendition of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All," which resulted in a standing ovation.

The much-anticipated finale – Ross’ performance – did not disappoint. With her signature wardrobe changes (a brilliant orange dress with a boa cape and stunning silver sequin gown) and stage presence, the queen of Motown wowed the audience with powerful performances of several of her hits including: “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Stop, in the Name of Love,” “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand),” “I’m Coming Out,” “Baby Love,” and “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To).”