Gaynor Rockin’ Gala 2024: An Incredible Experience! 

Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2024

On May 13, 2024, the Gaynor community came together for the Gaynor Rockin’ Gala at Brooklyn Bowl, an event combining support of Stephen Gaynor School with amazing food, great company, and live music in a once-in-a-lifetime show with legendary artists.

Guests knew they were in for something special as soon as they arrived at the venue, which featured custom concert posters hinting at the excitement waiting inside. As soon as they opened the red doors and entered Brooklyn Bowl, the real fun began! The venue was festooned with disco balls, and video screens displayed “family portraits” of Gaynor students, faculty, specialists, and staff. Passed hors d’oeuvres, a slider station, full bar, and a fully-staffed sushi station meant no one went hungry or thirsty that night! 

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

The formal program began when Peter Shapiro, famed concert promoter, owner of Brooklyn Bowl, and most importantly, father to Blue Cluster student Simon, took the stage. Shapiro welcomed the attendees, and spoke of the “magic of Gaynor,” his son’s journey at the school, and how proud he is that his son will be graduating this year.

Shapiro said, “It’s hard to really express how appreciative we are of Gaynor. Just like every one of you who has a student here, we just wish that every kid out there, both in New York and around the country, could benefit from what this very special school does.”

Shapiro was joined onstage by fellow Gaynor parent, Greg Williamson, parent to Sidney in the Orange Cluster. 

Williamson echoed Shapiro’s sentiments saying, “When you have a child that is in the right setting, particularly a child with learning differences, it’s a game changer. Our son Sidney could not be happier and could not be more comfortable at Stephen Gaynor School. So thank you for all you do. When you’re part of a school like Gaynor, you are part of a special community.” 

Supporting Stephen Gaynor School’s Endowment

Auctioneer Lydia Fenet took the mic to quiet the crowd and begin an energetic live auction that included exclusive opportunities as well as a paddle raise. Funds raised at this year’s gala will be used to support the school’s endowment, helping to provide long-term financial security and a perpetual source of revenue for Gaynor. The endowment helps Gaynor create a steady stream of support for financial aid, faculty and specialist salaries, and will help to keep Gaynor affordable for generations of students to come. The impact of dollars invested in the endowment today is magnified over time and will help secure the financial future of the school.

Who’s the Smartest Person at Brooklyn Bowl?

After the auction, Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor took the stage to thank everyone for participating, saying, “On behalf of many children to come, I want to thank you all for increasing access to Gaynor, for breaking down the barriers to a Gaynor education. Your support tonight makes us a stronger community, so thank you for that. That’s incredible.”

He then introduced something never before experienced at a Gaynor community event — a fast-paced video trivia contest, “Who is the Smartest Person at the Bowl,” hosted by Austin Rogers, All-Star Jeopardy Winner. This trivia game was crafted exclusively for Gaynor by Blue Cluster parent, Jim Juvonen. And our very own Blue Cluster student, Leo, made an appearance on the trivia as a contestant.

When the dust settled and the winners were announced, it turned out to be almost a total sweep by Gaynor faculty and staff members. It seems the Gaynor team really were the smartest people at Brooklyn Bowl!

The Main Event: Gaynor Rockin’ Gala Band

The trivia contest was immediately followed by another first-ever experience to close out the event, a once-in-a-lifetime performance by the Gaynor Rockin’ Gala Band. The band featured legendary artists who came together for this one night only, including George Porter, Jr. from The Meters, Ivan Neville from the Legendary Neville Family, Kirk Douglas from The Roots, and knock-your-socks off vocals by Lisa Fischer from The Rolling Stones.

We would like to sincerely thank all of our parent volunteers and generous sponsors who supported Stephen Gaynor School and Gaynor Rockin’ Gala 2024.

Photos: Brett Deutsch Photography