Celebrity Chefs Will Be Cookin’ to Support Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools

Assistant Superintendent Andy Morrow served potstickers. West Hartford’s Cookin’, April 1, 2017. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

West Hartford’s Cookin’ will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools at the organization’s signature fundraiser on March 24, 2018.

By Ronni Newton

Hundreds will have the opportunity to sample a wide variety of foods prepared by local chefs – but in this case the “celebrity” chefs will not be professionals but rather local civic leaders, school administrators, and education leaders who will show off their culinary skills at the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools’ (FWHPS) signature fundraiser.

At the March 24 event, to be held at West Hartford Town Hall from 6:30-9 p.m., the FWHPS will also be celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was co-founded by Dougie Trumble and Heather Congdon to support “projects, programs and initiatives that enhance the educational experience of students and promote excellence in West Hartford Public Schools,” and Trumble will serve as honorary chair of this year’s event, which is also dedicated to the memory of Congdon who died in 2003.

“We are very excited about this year’s 20th anniversary event, honoring our co-Founders Dougie Trumble and Heather Congdon,” event co-chairs David Casarella and Teresa Duprey said in a news release. “With their vision and foresight, West Hartford public schools and our community have enjoyed the benefits that The Foundation provides through the funding of so many wonderful grants. We are also grateful to the many individuals, businesses and civic groups who have supported the Foundation over the years … The event provides a wonderful way to support West Hartford’s public schools and uphold the tradition of offering all of West Hartford’s children enrichment opportunities.”

In addition to food and drink guests will have the opportunity to participate in a drawing for Bridgewater Chocolate, bid on silent and live auction items, and “Raise the Paddle” for the Foundation. The Maggey Blues Jazz Combo will provide live music.

“We feel extremely grateful to be in a district where the community, through the Foundation, is willing to provide additional financial support for educational projects in our classrooms, said Board of Directors co-presidents Cyndi Brown and Cathy Woods in the release. “This support is one of the many reasons West Hartford Public Schools achieves excellence as a school district.”

Celebrity chefs this year will include Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore, Assistant Superintendent Andy Morrow, Director of Leisure and Social Services Helen Rubino-Turco, State Sen. Beth Bye, State Rep. Derek Slap, members of the Town Council and Board of Education, principals from throughout the distract, West Hartford Press Editor Abigail Albair, and others. Resident (and amateur weatherman) John Lyons will serve as emcee.

To date the FWHPS, an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, has raised more than $1.5 million that has been invested in the form of grants to West Hartford teachers classrooms from preschool through high school. In December 2017, in honor of its 20th anniversary, the FWHPS presented a gift of $20,000 to be split among the school principals. Each received $1,250 to use for events or programs to enrich their school community.

“Explorer & Discoverer” sponsors of West Hartford’s Cookin’ include Bank of America, B.R.A.G Creative Marketing, Bridgewater Chocolate, Camera Bar, Clare and Chris Dowd, Dr. Scott and Cyndi Brown, Falvey Linen & Uniform Supply, FLOW – Future Leaders of West Hartford, Frank Webb Home, Gengras Motor Cars, Great by 8, JP Carroll Construction, Lexham West Hartford, Roger and Debbie Goldbeck, Rogo Distributors, Seritage Growth Properties, Smith Brothers Insurance, State Farm Insurance, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Westfarms, and West Hartford Education Association.

Tickets are $50 in advance ($60 at the door) for patrons and $100 for benefactors, and can be purchased online by visiting www.fwhps.org. Registration for online bidding through OneCause is available at http://bidpal.net/whcookin2018. More information about West Hartford’s Cookin’ at www.fwhps.org or by calling 860-561-8755.

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