Our Crowd

The IDEAL School of Manhattan’s “Taking Flight” Gala at Gotham Hall Raised Over $300,000

Thursday, November 29, 2012
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The IDEAL School of Manhattan co-founders Michelle Smith, Audra Zuckerman, and Julia Harquil – or as Smith likes to call them, “three moms on a mission” – welcomed over 300 guests to Gotham Hall on Monday night for their annual Taking Flight Gala. Head of School Angela Bergeson and Board of Trustees President Mitch Rubin welcomed friends, families, teachers and supporters to the benefit dinner party, which raised over $300,000 to keep the unique educational institution – located on West 91st street – thriving.


Tracy Nixon, Nancy Silverman, and Alexandra Lebenthal (in Douglas Hannant) were among the guests to peruse the dozens of silent auction items, which included everything from Knicks vs. Nets tickets to designer accessories to a trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas. Former Skid Row drummer Rob Affuso chatted with fellow supporter Fred Siegel, while Kristin McElligott, Lauren Lico and Emily Kuntz congregated near the auction tables as the attentive staff took bids on iPads. Following the cocktail hour, Tim Bello, Krysta Wagner and Wayne Clark were among those who sat and enjoyed both the delightful dinner and inspiring presentation.


The IDEAL school of Manhattan is an inclusion school that accepts and affirms the full identities of all people, while inspiring academic excellence, creative leadership, and a desire to build a more just and equitable world. Children of all backgrounds and abilities are welcome at the School, and the student body is one of the most diverse in the City. But what makes co-founder Smith most proud is that “this inclusion school is teaching emotional intelligence, which is sorely lacking not only in education but in the world.”


On a lighter note, the proud mom on a mission told AVENUEinsider that she is excited to spend the upcoming holiday season at her country home in the Hudson Valley. “I’m Italian, so I do a Christmas Eve fish dinner, except that I cheat and, instead of seven dishes, I do five.” Certainly, she and her colleagues have a whole lot to celebrate!


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by AVENUE insiderPhotographed by Billy Farrall