Frequently Asked Questions

Gala FAQ

What is the Whitby Gala all about and where will it take place?

The Gala is our school's largest annual fundraising event. Money raised at the Gala helps offset the costs of providing high quality programs and educating each child at Whitby School. The 2021 Whitby School Spring in Paris Gala will be held at either in person at small gatherings in Whitby family backyards or online via Zoom on Saturday, May 22nd from 7pm.

How does the school raise money at the Gala?

Thanks to the generosity of our local community, businesses and our Whitby families we are able to offer interesting and desirable items for you to bid which last year helped Whitby School raise significant funds for our ongoing plans to upgrade and improve aspects of the Whitby School this year and beyond. In years past, money raised at the Gala has helped us build the MakerSpace, provide technology upgrades, a full remodel of the Stepping Stones movement room, and curriculum enhancements as well as provide financial aid for tuition.

Is it true that the tuition we pay does not cover the full cost of our child's education?

Yes, it's true for Whitby and the majority of independent schools. The money raised at the Gala helps bridge the gap between expenses covered by tuition and the cost of providing each student an exceptional Whitby School education. Without the money raised at the Gala, tuition for each student would cost more.

Is the Gala FUN?

The gala is a super fun night out! Don’t take our word for it. Ask around or even better, avoid FOMO (fear of missing out) and come party with us to see for yourself. Whether you are a new Whitby School parent, or a long time member of the Whitby School family, The Whitby Gala is hands down a great night out for a good cause with friends old and new!

What does everyone DO at the Gala?

We party! We enjoy an amazing time together virtually or otherwise with amazing food and adult beverages. We party and dance to great music provided by bands and DJs. And of course we help raise money for the school in interesting and fun ways with auctions and performances. We get to bid on a wide variety of silent auction items and with the help of a real live auctioneer we get to bid on incredible experiences in the Live Auction as we playfully battle it out with other parents.

How do we RSVP and what’s the price to attend?

Every Whitby School family will receive a digital invitation and/or printed invitation in the mail and we have our new gala website, The website and invitation tells you everything you need to know including the event theme, the costs per person to attend, donation and sponsorship opportunities plus more. Individual tickets are $150 per person And of course the ticket price includes everything - entertainment, food, full bar, beverages, entertainment, dancing, and more! Visit to RSVP online and purchase tickets, tables and sponsorship opportunities

What is the theme for the Gala?

Every year the Gala has a new theme. This year's theme was decided by YOU. Its Springtime in Paris! Get light, fun, adventurous, and youthful. This party is all about having a blast with your friends so glam it up, wear your best (& comfiest) dancing shoes and be ready to party. Visit to see more and get your tickets.

Do Whitby School teachers and staff come to the Gala?

Absolutely! It wouldn’t be Gala without our teachers and staff. The school covers the ticket cost for each teacher so that all faculty can attend. When you RSVP, parents also have an opportunity to contribute to the cost of teachers' tickets if they want, which in turn helps the school.

Are students invited to the Gala?

Nope :) The Whitby Gala is a kid-free-zone. It is a fun night out and an adults-only party.

What should I wear to this event?

Dress to impress…. It’s an opportunity to dress up as much as you like and who doesn’t love to dress up? Your favorite attire will be just perfect. This year's theme is Springtime in Paris! Be creative, stylish and youthful!

Is there assigned seating for dinner?

When purchasing your tickets you can indicate who you’d like to sit with. We do our best to make seating assignments work for all. Whether it’s assigned seating or not, everyone gets to spend the evening mingling and moving about at their cohorted event.

I have a dietary restriction. What should I do to request an alternate meal?

If you require an alternate meal please inform your server at the event. Please note that due to the number of people attending the event, we can only provide vegetarian/vegan meals as alternate options.

Is there an auction and how will we know what the auction items are?

Yes. The auction catalog for silent and live auction items will be available online at a few days prior to the event and some silent auction items will be displayed at the gala venue. An email reminder and flyer will also be sent out a week before the event. In the catalog you will find all of the silent and live auction items. Additionally you’ll be able to see the schedule of events for the evening and view details from supporters of our school on the website.

Do I have to buy something at the Gala?

You are not required to buy anything at the event. However, all proceeds that are raised at the Gala, benefit Whitby School and our students. The auction team makes sure there are items up for auction at various price points - low, medium, and high! So just contribute as your heart leads you. At the very least, be sure to come out for a fun night out with the Whitby School family.

What types of items are typically auctioned off?

There is something for everyone but think Experiences, Experiences, Experiences! There are gift certificates to restaurants all over Fairfield County, Westchester County, and NYC. There are spa services for people who like to be pampered! There are kid specific experiences, toys and games! So many fun experiences to bid on. Have your child be head of school for a day, or name the school driveway! You can even bid on front row, reserved and named seats at all Whitby School performances. And there are teacher treats too! Whitby School Teachers generously donate fun experiences that teachers and students can do together. Of all the auction items, these are children's favorites. The experiences really are priceless!

How does the school get items to auction off at the Gala?

We have a great Auction Committee team that are busy contacting businesses near and far BUT they always need help! The success of the Whitby School Gala depends in part on the items we are able to acquire. Imagine the amazing auction we will enjoy if every Whitby School family acquires just ONE donated item! If you’re interested and willing to help you can sign up online at or speak with our Development Coordinator Quentin Ball or Whitby School Parent Association Co-Presidents Amanda Birnbaum and Jessica Wiener. For more details on the donation acquisition process. Donation forms are available HERE. It is super easy and we can help you if you need guidance.

Silent Auction and Live Auction

At the Gala, we have both a silent auction and a live auction. For the silent auction, the items up for auction will be on display at the venue and in our online Auction Catalogue where you can submit your best bid for the items using this number. To make it easy for us to bid on items and manage the auction we’ll be using OneCause (formerly BidPal) mobile phone bidding app for both the Silent and Live Auction. You’ll be registered and given access when you buy tickets online and at check in. The Silent Auction will begin online a few days prior to the event. During the gala we’ll send text updates to let you know if you're outbid and when bidding closes. Check your phone periodically to make sure you get one last chance to bid on your favorite items during the night.The Live Auction portion of the evening is a tonne of fun. We’ll have an auctioneer for fun, fast-paced bidding. This is a truly fun part of the evening- the bidding wars are epic! But it is all in good fun!

What is a "Fund-a-Need / Paddle Raise"?

A Paddle Raise is a form of live auction. During the live auction the auctioneer asks everyone to raise their auction paddle to indicate their interest in contributing at various monetary levels to a specific need the school has identified. Last year, our Fund-a-Need Paddle Raise effort focused on Financial Aid Tuition. We hope you’ll consider including the “Fund-a-Need/Paddle Raise" opportunity in your budget for the Gala evening.

If I win something, can I take it home at the end of the evening?

We’re going digital! To make it easier for you we’ll be utilizing OneCause (BidPal) Auctions mobile app tool. From ticket purchase to check-in registration to auction e-checkout, OneCause provides the tools to help us raise even more funds while eliminating the hassle of manually processing payments and handling check-out. Most items will be available for pick up at school the week following the gala. The Auction team will let you know which, if any, items will be available to take home at the end of the night. Ah yes, instant gratification - it’s a beautiful thing.

What’s the best way to get involved with the Whitby School Gala?

Get involved your way! Helping with pre-gala planning and preparation is always welcome. But the best and easiest way for most people to “help” is by attending the event and participating in the activities and auctions. Let's be honest... Events are always better with friends! Get your crew together and buy individual tickets or set up a backyard event together

There’s Strength in Numbers!

Consider teaming together as a few parents or as an entire class when bidding on larger auction items or experiences at the Gala. Trip packages, teacher outings, sports, arts and travel experiences! The possibilities are endless, especially when families pool resources and work together!

Do you need help with planning or set-up?

Absolutely! We need as many helpers as possible before and on the day of the event! The more volunteers we have, the faster we get everything set up the more time we all have to get our party attire and dancing shoes on! Plus, when you help with the gala you'll get a preview of all of the amazing auction items.

How do I keep up to date on "all things Gala"?

Sign up at for updates, tickets, info and previews of all things Gala. Whitby School will also keep you updated via periodic emails. Be sure to check your email inbox for the Save-the-Date, the Gala invitation and for the various virtual pre-gala activities.

What will the 2021 Gala look like? Will it be different than usual?

We have made the difficult, but ultimately most safe, decision to transition the Gala from a live format on the Whitby Field to an alternate format.

The Gala Committee is exploring two options: the first option is a purely virtual option. You would Zoom into the event from your home. There will be a brief introduction from Whitby leadership, entertainment (think magician or mimes - very Parisian!), a high-energy auction, and opportunities to connect as a community.

The second option is to ask Whitby families to host gatherings (sticking to cohorts) in their backyards. We would ask that attendees stay socially distanced and Zoom into the event from outside.

For each option, attendees will receive food items/beverages, decorative elements, and other fun items the day of the event.

Buying Flowers

Thanks for being part of the wonderful Whitby Community.