The quintessential California lifestyle was celebrated as the Oaks Christian School community gathered 300 strong for an evening to support all OCS students and programs at the annual Gala Dinner Auction at the Four Seasons Hotel March 18. With a California Dreamin' theme, the evening was a stroll down memory lane to the "surfs up" days of early California beach culture, complete with two beautiful woodies (on loan from OCS Golin Family and Knight Family) beach memorabilia, and laid-back California beach attire.
The annual gala is OCS' premiere fundraising event for scholarship and programs for all students. Sponsored by the Chet Huffman Family, as well as many other sponsors and donors, the auction allows Oaks Christian to further impact students' lives through a quality, Christ-centered education known for academic excellence, artistic expression and athletic distinction.
Guests spent the cocktail hour mingling in the elegant tent and bidding on silent auction items such as a Mick Fleetwood autographed guitar, a Mel Gibson signed "Passion of the Christ" poster, a week at Mammoth Mountain vacation home, a week at Silver Strand beach home, a Mike Scioscia autographed baseball and numerous other high-end sporting and entertainment packages. Every now and then one unsuspecting guest was "rescued" by lifeguard Dave Moore, blowing his whistle and bringing the victim to safety with his flotation device.
When the dining room doors opened, guests walked into a beautiful ballroom decorated with mini palm tree centerpieces, rattan chairs and blue and green ambient lighting. Master of Ceremonies Jeff Morrow welcomed the invitees as the evening got underway. Guests dined on a gourmet "California Farm to Table" meal of braised beef and chicken while Beach Boys tribute band Woodie and the Longboards—the number one tribute act in North America—played. In addition, the student group OC Voices performed a beautiful rendition of the classic "California Dreaming," featuring soloist and OCS junior Scarlet Tunney. OCS senior Elizabeth Sams powerfully sang "The Prayer," to a standing ovation.
Special guests in attendance were alumni Alex Avedissian, '04 and Aric Avedissian '08 who recently pitched their company, Rareform, on Shark Tank. They shared how receiving financial aid while at Oaks Christian made their dreams possible and how the spiritual groundwork they received as students shaped them as adults. Another alumni guest was Carlos Mendoza, '12, who came to Oaks Christian as an angry, confused young man. He revealed how the academic help at the OCS Learning Center, financial aid, and the mentorship of faculty and staff turned his life around and eventually helped him attend college.
"It was a priceless moment for me and my parents when Oaks said they were going to give me financial aid. We were so happy and thankful to the Lord for the blessing of coming to this school," he shared. He encouraged guests to give to the school because the investment is "far greater than you can ever image. You can change someone's life."
The live auction featured celebrity auctioneers Jimmy "Jam" Harris, Chris Tucker, Ray Parker, Jr., and Brad Garrett. Live auction items included a Napa Valley getaway and hot-air balloon flight; a behind-the-scenes Grammy experience; a live taping of The Bachelorette; a European river cruise; tickets to the NBA all-star game; a weekend package to the Annual Movieguide Awards; a suite for eight at the Staples Center to the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill world tour, and a Malibu vacation home.
After the live auction, the winning name for the 2017 All-Electric Chevy Bolt car opportunity drawing was pulled and OCS middle school nurse and current and alumni parent Leslie Heimbuch was the lucky winner. The evening concluded with guests hitting the dance floor to the music of Woodie and the Longboards.
The OCS advancement department sends a huge "Thank You" to our many generous donors, sponsors, volunteers and participants who made this year's auction season a big success! Your participation in the online, silent and live auctions, and the car opportunity drawing, makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our students by fostering our mission: "To dedicate ourselves to Christ in the pursuit of Academic Excellence, Artistic Expression, and Athletic Distinction, while growing in knowledge and wisdom through God's abundant grace."