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“Best of the Best” Gala Brings Community Together

'Best of the Best' Gala Brings Community Together

The Triton Museum was abuzz with activity on the evening of April 30. Artists painted with zest. Up-and-coming florists gave swift flower arranging demonstrations. Student chefs prepared tasty finger foods. Dancers and musicians brightened up the space with their lively music and movement. Mission College’s “Best of the Best” fundraiser gala featured the finest talents of the school’s students and faculty.

In addition to the silent and live auctions for students’ eye-catching art, many other highlights marked this black-tie event.

Patricia Mahan, vice-mayor of Santa Clara, received the “Friend of Mission College” award. During a slideshow presentation about Mahan’s life, attendees learned that while growing up, Mahan was tall for her age and liked to bring home stray kittens. She is a fan of The Beatles and Rolling Stones, and loves shoes and antiques.

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“I’m really quite flattered [to receive this award],” Mahan says. “I’ve always been a supporter of Mission College and an advocate for what the school does for our community.”

Students and faculty members sang in a band, danced the samba, and played in both a string quartet and a piano and wind trio. Ceech Hsu, a hip hop dance teacher at Mission College, oversaw an upbeat dance routine he and his students performed. In the routine, students performed martial arts, robot dancing, and locking, which is a dance style with moving and freezing motions.

“I teach west coast funk culture,” says Hsu of the dance style he specializes in within the larger school of hip-hop. “I’ve been teaching at Mission College since 2002. For people who want to understand hip-hop, I encourage them to study its history and culture.”

Working towards a degree in fine art at Mission College, Miha Sarani performed live art by painting an abstract piece on canvas to be auctioned off.

“[Some professors] at Mission College asked if I would be interested in participating in this event,” Sarani says. “I felt very honored to be asked.”

The Mission College Hospitality Management Program put together an excellent menu. Some of the food at the gala included grilled cheese mini-sandwiches made with Canadian bacon and a Gruyere cheese blend, shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, and quiche Lorraine. Finger foods included smoked chicken salad in pastry cups, seared tender lamb chops, and baby crab cakes with red pepper sauce.

“I’m a supporter of public education and a strong believer in community colleges,” says Teresa O’Neill, a former member of the Santa Clara school board. “I like the idea that this event highlights the many facets of what Mission College does well.”

“This is a fabulous event and I’m really proud of our staff,” says Buck Polk, a trustee of West Valley Mission Community College District. “I’m going to buy a piece of art for my wife here.”

“This event is representative of how district employees go above and beyond to meet the needs of education in our area,” says Chad Walsh, president of the governing board of trustees at West Valley Mission Community College District.

“This event is really great,” says David Davila, a board member of the West Valley Mission College Foundation. “I bid on some things this evening, but I got outbid. Next year, I’m hovering over the auction sheet.”

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