Jim Morrison

On Saturday, March 24, Nueva’s Annual Benefit Auction will return to Hillsborough for an evening of fun, fundraising, and community-building. This year the theme is “Beyond the Yellow Brick Road,” and volunteers are creating a beautiful, celebratory event.

New to the Auction in 2018

“The annual auction is such a fun, important, and exciting event for our community,” said Nueva Trustee Bonnie Fought. “The new initiatives Kate Dietzen and Jenise Henrikson are implementing this year assure that the entire community can participate and have fun at this vibrant event.”

In an effort to expand the role that the auction plays in building community, this year the cocktail hour before the live auction will be free and open to the entire community. Attendees will enjoy complimentary food and drink as they spend time catching up with old friends, making new connections, and participating in the silent auction. The cocktail hour will feature grand prize giveaways for a family vacation and access to “Count Me In” opportunities happening in the spring, and attendees will be treated to student performances.

Profound Impact on Financial Aid

Revenue raised during the auction constitutes the majority of funding for student financial aid recipients.

“Next year, we hope to welcome 100 students in the freshman class. As we grow larger, so does our potential for reaching out to underserved communities. The impact of our generous community and its support of the Annual Auction cannot be overstated,” said Associate Director of Admissions Davion Fleming. “Nearly 20% of our school — one in five students — directly benefits from the money raised on this single night.”

“When prospective families ask me for an adjective that defines our community, my answer is always ‘supportive,’” said Davion. “In the classrooms and hallways, that support is reflected in the relationships between teachers and their students. In the greater community, it is reflected in the support and generosity of our families, who are so committed to ensuring a better future for our school.”

As a graduate of Stanford University's Class of 2017, Nueva alum Drew Willoughby said, “As a young boy, I couldn't possibly grasp the Nueva Auction's essential role in my education. I didn't realize until I was much older that it was so much more than a big party — it was a vital source of the financial aid that came to my family's rescue during a difficult time and allowed me to continue at Nueva. I can't overstate my appreciation for the generosity of the Nueva community, which continues to support the financial needs of a diverse student body that I am so lucky to be a part of.”

Invaluable Professional Development Opportunities

In addition to the transformational impact the auction has on the lives of our students, the annual event also raises money for professional development opportunities for Nueva’s faculty and staff.

Head of School Diane Rosenberg said, “Our faculty and staff quench their own thirst for lifelong learning through the professional development opportunities that the auction provides. In just this past year, faculty across all three divisions have traveled throughout the country, to present at and attend conferences aimed at discovering the best in education.”

Cross-divisional math teacher Kim Harris shared her appreciation for the opportunities auction funds provide teachers. “At Asilomar, the California Math Council’s annual conference in Pacific Grove, the majority of speakers have ideas that can be put into immediate practice back in our classrooms.”

Kim explains, “The time spent learning and traveling together provides us the opportunity to reflect on what we have seen at the conference and reimagine that new learning in the context of Nueva. Because the learning is a shared and interactive experience between me and my colleagues, there is a better chance it will make its way into our curriculum immediately. This opportunity, like so many others, is directly tied to the generosity and support that is on display at the auction.”

Building a More Diverse Community

The generosity shown during the auction advances Nueva’s quest to build a more diverse and inclusive learning community. Reflecting on this, Social Justice Coordinator Alegria Barclay said, “When we speak about the impact that cost has on who is able to attend this institution, we are speaking about who is absent from our community in terms of both race and class. As such, fundraising allows us to get closer to a goal of being able to truly meet our mission to serve ALL gifted students.

“When we are able to be comprehensively need-blind in our admissions process, we can better build a community of learners that reflects the amazing diversity and demographics of the Bay Area. Every year, Nueva’s auction and the generosity of our parents allows us to become a home to a broader and more varied student body, which, in turn, enriches all of our experiences.”

A History of Dedication

Reflecting on the history of the auction, Beth Noonan — former Nueva parent, teacher, and mother of Middle School Head Liza Raynal — said, “The heart of the auction has always been our community and its incredible generosity and hard work in raising funds to support school programs that benefit as many students as possible. Over the years, a commitment to this mission has remained at the core of the event.”

Hard work and robust parent involvement have always been central to the success of the event. Beth said, “In the mid–1980s, we held the auction in the ballroom. When Liza was in first or second grade, I recall making about 3000 miniature desserts in preparation for the auction! That was just my part in what was truly a collective effort that illustrated the dedication, talent, and commitment to helping as many students as possible that this community has always championed.”

Delivering on Our Promise

Reflecting on his interactions with prospective families, Davion said, “When families are applying to Nueva, regardless of their financial need, I want to be able to make them the promise that we are going to take care of them, that their children are going to be okay and find a home at this school — where we all work so hard to ensure that each student can be happy and thrive. The auction, and the generosity of those that participate, makes this promise a reality.”

The Community Cocktail Reception is free to attend for all faculty and parents! Learn more about the auction at


Attend the Community Cocktail Reception

By Jim Morrison, VLP Director

February 28, 2018

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