Special to Ocala Style
A carnival is a celebration combining pageantry, folk, drama, and feasting. Hale Academy’s “Carnaval” is no different. A spin off of Rio De Janeiro’s annual Carnaval celebration, Hale Academy’s version of the well-known festival, just like the theme implies, is sure to be an affair to remember. Colorful costumes, lavish gowns, dancers, jugglers, and a never-ending feast of Brazilian and Latin American inspired cuisine complete the evening.
“It is quite a party atmosphere,” board member Diane Trexler says, “not at all stuffy or boring. The guests were dressed up and wearing masks and everyone looked amazing. At last year’s event we had a great mix of people from in and around Ocala. I can’t wait for this year’s event.”
According to committee member Deb Cone, others are anticipating this year’s event as well. “I’ve had calls throughout the summer from people who were interested in purchasing tickets.”
Deb calls Carnaval a black-tie event — with a twist.
“It’s still black tie,” she says. “The women can wear their beautiful gowns, and the men their tuxedos, but have fun with it and be creative. Our guests can be more flamboyant and colorful.”
David DeSantis, co-owner of Greiner’s for Men and Women, has been to many fundraising galas in his line of work.
“There are a lot of themed events each year,” he says. “But for some reason, everyone seems to get very involved with the Hale event. A lot of people rented limos and wore masks last year, just getting really involved in the whole atmosphere of the evening. It’s a great time to get together with a group of friends for an original, fun event that at the same time is for a good cause.”
A Party Like No Other
Through live and silent auctions, last year’s auction generated an unprecedented amount of money that was put back into the school’s treasury. This year, committee members hope to raise even more funds for school improvements that would benefit the growing student population at Hale Academy.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to add some scholarships in the future,” Deb says. “The success of last year’s auction was a result of the great community involvement and support. That’s how we want it to be. You don’t have to have a student who goes to Hale to attend the auction and have a great time.”
This year’s auction items range from the extravagant, including several overseas and domestic vacation packages, including a trip to stunning Napa Valley where visitors can sample some of the world’s finest wines, Botox treatments, cosmetic dental procedures, and a unique party on a private train car.
For sports lovers, there are season tickets to the New York Yankees spring training sessions with seats so close to the players, you’re practically sitting with them in the dugout. Guests may also bid on box seats for both Florida Field and Doak Campbell Stadium, a stint at NASCAR driving at the Richard Petty Driving Experience in Orlando, and plenty of autographed sports memorabilia from both current and past sports legends.
“I bid on several auction items last year,” David says. “I came away with a date night for myself and my wife, which included dinner at Felix’s and a few nice bottles of wine. I think the originality of some of the auction items, both silent and live, really made the evening interesting. They had some great fishing trips and vacation homes. I have no doubt that they’ll come up with something fantastic this year, too.”
A Caring Campus
Now in its fifth year in operation, Hale Academy’s mission is to educate children to become successful members of a free society. With a curriculum largely based in liberal arts, each student is groomed to master the basics — reading, writing, mathematics, and language — and, at the same time, explore the arts and sciences.
Hale’s new Head of School, Jeff Magnoli, who recently moved to Ocala from Phoenix, Arizona, was impressed with Hale the moment he set foot on campus, and upon meeting his staff for the first time.
“The teachers at Hale have the ultimate ability to be able to customize the educational experience for each child,” he says. “It’s not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all type of program. We help all our children strengthen what they do best. Our commitment is to mold the entire child, not just their education. We help our children deal with both community and global issues. We create kids who are better prepared for their future.”
For Hale parent Diane Trexler, sending her two boys to Hale was a way to ensure they were challenged every day.
“The teachers, parents, and faculty all work together for each child,” Diane says. “The teachers are wonderful and they all continue to further their own education to better themselves for their students. The Head of School knows all of the children and their families. Hale is a family-oriented, close-knit environment for our kids.”
An Affair to Remember 2004
Friday, October 1st
Sponsorship party begins at 6pm
$200 per couple