SEF holds ‘stars’ filled gala celebrating student art

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2023

It was an evening to celebrate art by Suffolk Public Schools students at the eighth annual Gala of the Arts Thursday night.

Held by the Suffolk Education Foundation Thursday, April 27, the evening’s theme was “A Night Under the Stars,” at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront. 

Local residents and city officials turned out to a gala filled with lights and star decorations and the chance to view SPS students’ artwork. Additionally, there was a silent auction and performances from student vocal groups representing Northern Shores Elementary School, Col. Fred Cherry Middle School, Nansemond River High School and the Center for Performing and Production Arts at Lakeland High School as well as instrumental groups from Lakeland High School and Nansemond River High School. 

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Suffolk Education Foundation Vice President Krisheena Love shred more on the special event.

“This night we are showcasing our artwork from our students that we have at all of our different schools throughout Suffolk and we’re doing a silent auction, a fundraiser, just trying to raise money for our teachers, for our students and the staff and administration,” Love said during the gala.

The event saw “150 supporters” of SPS fine arts, said Suffolk Education Foundation President and Sheriff’s Office Deputy Major David Miles.

“Highlighting our students’ talents is the dual purpose of this fundraiser. We return part of the proceeds directly to the school groups participating [in] art, chorus, band, culinary arts and orchestra,” Miles said.  “We also played videos to highlight how the SEF’s instructional grants and scholarships reach into and beyond the classroom.”

Miles said process of putting the gala together requires a “massive” amount of arts programs in SPS.

“We had 20 arts programs to participate, including the culinary arts from the College and Career Academy at Pruden. We wanted to give as much opportunity as possible for the students’ arts, talents and gifting to be displayed,” he said.

Miles said the gala provides a chance to learn more about the programs offered.

“We want our supporters to experience and see their impact on the SPS art programs and the district as a whole,” Miles said. “We want the students to have the opportunity to share their gifts outside of a school environment, to be featured in their communities.”

Love said she wanted the students to know that the gala was for them.

“I want the parents to know that everything that we do,” she said. “We do it for the children. We do it for the administration. We do it for the teachers. We do it because we love everybody and we just want to be able to help as much as we can.”