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2021 Recipients Honored at 15th Annual Gala

Over 150 guests enjoyed an incredible night at the Averill Park Education Foundation’s 15th Annual Gala on Friday, November 19, 2021, where trustees honored Tracy Sten Hacker, 2021 Educator Award recipient, and Chris Foster, 2021 Community Award recipient.

After a two-year hiatus, this premier event returned to the Old Daley on Crooked Lake, a perfect setting for the celebratory night.

Following a lively cocktail hour and art display by Averill Park High School and Algonquin Middle School students, APEF Vice President Tara Lindheimer offered a lovely toast and sincere thanks to the many people involved in making the night a success.

Outgoing APEF President Daryl Bart spoke of our community’s collective resilience, highlighting the Foundation's flame logo and evening theme, "Keeping the Flame Alive," as a fitting metaphor, in light of our past two years, amid COVID-19 related protocols and changes, to underscore our ability to finally gather again, bringing together the essential elements that make APEF’s work possible...the community, the teachers, and the trustees.

Daryl reminded us that we're as durable and as resilient as a flame as we continue moving forward, complimenting the impact of the all-volunteer board on the district, by providing the means, through enrichment grants, for our teachers to be their brightest, and for our students to shine.

Past President Scott Bendett joined Daryl at the podium to start the bidding for the Live Auction, which, as usual, had items that delighted and were incredibly popular.

Following the live auction and meal, the event featured the night’s honorees. Rachael Kittleson highlighted Tracy Sten Hacker's work as a tenured school psychologist, her commitment to the community, and her notable impacts in a heartfelt introduction.

Chris Foster, after an introduction by his great friend, David Fleming, Jr., himself a longstanding public service advocate and elected supervisor for the Town of Nassau, gave a typically humble acceptance speech, speaking of the forever need for community service and encouraging the audience to participate at the local level, be informed, and make an impact.

The evening's silent auction was a huge success, and once again the "gift card pull" sold out and will fund three scholarships for the Class of 2022.

Thank you again for supporting the Averill Park Education Foundation. If you were unable to attend, you can still support the grants program by selecting "donate now" in the next column to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation!

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