On Saturday, April 17, hundreds of community members came together virtually for a unique Celebrate St. Mark’s experience, presented by the Parents' Association. This year’s theme, The Great Outdoors, honored the 50th anniversary of the Pecos Wilderness Trip and raised funds to support programs across campus.
“We were unsure of how this unusual year would impact the feel of the event, so we were thrilled with all of the enthusiasm we received,” said Jennifer Applbaum. “It doesn’t matter what the occasion is – our parent community shows up with their St. Mark’s spirit each time they are asked.”
The evening featured recorded messages from students, faculty, staff, and parents, plus special tributes to the Pecos Trip and Frank Jordan, former Lower School teacher and lifelong champion of outdoor education. The night capped off with the live auction and a rocking performance by Emerald City Band. Thanks to the generosity of the community, Celebrate St. Mark's raised more than $150,000 for the School this year. The funds will benefit the Frank H. Jordan Wilderness Program Endowment Fund, campus tornado recovery efforts, and the St. Mark’s Fund.
This year’s event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Pecos Wilderness Trip. In 1971, St. Mark's first sent boys on a camping trip to Big Bend National Park. The following year, the School led the rising freshman class to the Pecos Wilderness in New Mexico and has been going back ever since. Today, the Wilderness Program encompasses numerous camping trips, teaching boys the values of both self-reliance and cooperation
While Celebrate St. Mark’s was originally planned to be in person, the continued focus on health and safety required the Parents’ Association to pivot to a remote celebration. Under the leadership of co-chairs Jennifer Applbaum, Briana Frenkel, and Elizabeth Perry-Miller, a robust virtual event quickly came together.
“With a virtual event, we were able to cast a big net and include the whole family for an enjoyable night,” said Elizabeth. “It was heartwarming to hear from other St. Mark’s families and realize that even though we celebrated ‘solo,’ it felt like we were all celebrating St. Mark’s together with so many people watching a truly special tribute to the Wilderness Program.”