On the Town: Patrons Club changes up fundraiser with much success

Glendale Community College dancers perform during the Dancing Toward Success luncheon.

Glendale Community College dancers perform during the Dancing Toward Success luncheon.

(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

There was a change in location and entertainment, but the Patrons Club of Glendale Community College still wowed its audience at the “Dancing Toward Success” luncheon on Friday.

President Karen Wharton welcomed members and guests to the new venue, the Oakmont Country Club, which proved to be an excellent backdrop for the annual event that raises funds for scholarships and grants-in-aid programs.

Wharton called for a moment of silence in honor of longtime member Gertrude Ness, who at 110, had passed away on Aug. 28. For many years, Ness had modeled fashions during the Patrons Club annual event. She had strolled down the runway on the arm of the late former college Supt./President John Davitt.

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Patrons Club President Karen Wharton, left, presents Gael Davitt with the Woman of Distinction award.

Patrons Club President Karen Wharton, left, presents Gael Davitt with the Woman of Distinction award.

(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Her daughter Jo Ness thanked the group for recognizing her mother.

“She adored this group,” Jo Ness said. “She liked all of her organizations and, at 110, she was still with it. She was not ill [at the time of her passing.] She just went to sleep and we should all be so lucky. She leaves quite a legacy.”

Also welcoming guests were Supt./President David Viar and Lisa H. Brooks, representing the Glendale Community College Foundation.

A highlight of the day was the presentation of the Woman of Distinction Award to Gael Davitt, the former superintendent’s wife.

Bart Edelman, professor emeritus, gave a lighthearted reading of Gael Davitt’s biography.

For more than 20 years during her husband’s tenure at the college, she was right by his side at football games, Hall of Fame dinners and the latest Glendale Community College theatrical productions. They traveled, spreading the word about the college as far as Washington D.C. and Japan and joined Edelman in central Europe during the summer of 1998, where he was teaching a Glendale Community College abroad program in Prague.

Luncheon Chair Marianne Jennings with GCC Supt./President David Viar.

Luncheon Chair Marianne Jennings with GCC Supt./President David Viar.

(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Gael Davitt remains active in the Right to Life League and the Christ Child Society and enjoys her friends and family time with the couple’s four children, their spouses and 11 grandchildren.

Glendale Mayor Paula Devine led off several presentations to Gael Davitt. As a side note, she explained why her foot was in a boot — she had torn a muscle due to a dancing accident.

“So, be very careful when you try to learn the Samba,” she quipped.

Devine was joined by Councilman Zareh Sinanyan in presenting a congratulatory certificate from the city of Glendale to Gael Davitt.

Patrons Club President Wharton gave the final presentation of a beautiful glass trophy to Gael Davitt.

Davitt thanked the Patrons Club for its commitment and tireless work to raise money for deserving students.

“I am truly humbled to receive this honor from such an outstanding organization,” she said. “John, Dr. Davitt, so admired and supported your commitment. I know how you will all remember how he relentlessly hounded the administration, faculty and staff until finally they wrote the donation check.”

Following lunch, the Glendale Community College dancers presented a lively combination of styles from contemporary to hip-hop and jazz. The change from fashion show seemed to be a welcome one. What a great way to see a sample of the education guests are supporting.

Director Dora Krannig introduced each piece starting with the first titled “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.” Using chairs for props, dancers replicated the feline moves with grace. Student choreographer Sylvia Touris also danced in the piece.

Others choreographing numbers were faculty member Lisa Jay and students Jayde Kief and Jason Kim. Dancers were Samantha Flores, Kyungin Kim, Ashley Navarro, Hannah Pierce, Sera Shahgholian, Tina Sinlapasai, Koharu Takagi and Michelle Yum.

A live auction was followed by the announcement of the $1,000 grand prize winner. Celeste Hawksley, a retired Glendale Community College employee, held that ticket.

Making the day a success were chair Marianne Jennings, financial secretary Judy Gorham, and committee members Pat Beggs, Carolyn Payne, Shirley Wright, Angela Vukos, Margaret Hammond, Susan Cisco, college adviser Paul Schlossman, college liaison Kim Holland, college planning committee members Aida Avanousian and Ani Keshishian, Margaret Dickson, Patty Flanagan and Tamara Hughes.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be reached at