HCN News & Notes

Willie Ross School for the Deaf to Host Virtual Gala on Oct. 15

LONGMEADOW — Willie Ross School for the Deaf will hold its annual gala on Thursday, Oct. 15. In light of the pandemic, the school will be hosting this year’s event as a hybrid in-person and virtual experience, and will raffle off a Toyota 86 sports car purchased from Gale Toyota for its gala raffle. The honorees for this year’s gala are Peter Pappas, a longtime trustee and supporter of the school, and Gale Toyota, a generous annual supporter.

Raffle tickets are $75 each, or two tickets for $125. The school will limit the raffle to 2,000 tickets. To purchase a ticket for the raffle, contact Joel Skelton, coordinator of Community Engagement at Willie Ross, at jskelton@wrsdeaf.org or (413) 304-2556.

Due to limited capacity because of COVID-19 guidelines, board, staff, and honored guests will attend the gala in person, and all other members of the community will attend a formal program via Zoom. Tickets are $35 for Zoom guests, and can be purchased by clicking here.

The gala’s theme is “Building on Success,” highlighting the school’s recent $1.2 million Longmeadow campus expansion. The renovation and expansion will add a second story to its administration building that will feature new space for interpreters, an updated audiology center, a redesigned main entrance, improved wheelchair access, new space for the school’s School to Work Program, and upgraded administrative technology. The project is expected to be completed in January.

“Every fall, our community comes together to honor the people who have had an impact on our success and to acknowledge the great work and tireless dedication of our staff,” said Bert Carter, president and CEO of Willie Ross School for the Deaf. “This year’s gala will offer an opportunity for us to celebrate the initiative to improve our campus. So many within and outside of our school community have had a hand in the renovation and revitalization of our Longmeadow campus, and our gala offers an opportunity to say ‘thank you.’ We wish all of this could be in person, but we are happy that we will host a program that can be shared virtually, and encourage those within and outside of our school community to participate.”