Around 1,000 people filled the Grand Ballroom at Crown Towers, for the largest celebration Wesley has ever thrown – the Centenary Gala Ball.
Ask anyone what makes Wesley special and one of the first things they’ll say is: community.
Never was that more clearly represented than at the Centenary Gala Ball, held at Crown Towers last weekend.
Parents, teachers, alumni, past parents, Council members, past Council members, operations and admin staff – all corners of our Wesley family were shoulder to shoulder dancing, laughing, reminiscing.
The evening began with Head of College, Mr Ross Barron, taking to the microphone to acknowledge our Noongar Elders and welcome guests.
“Tonight has been four years in the making,” he said. “This Gala Ball is the biggest celebration Wesley has ever had. It says everything about what Wesley is, and what Wesley will be in the future.
“We’re proud of who we are and what we have become – celebrating as one village. Who would have imagined, 100 years ago, that so many of us would come together tonight to celebrate this centenary?”
Looking around the Grand Ballroom, there’s no doubt that Mr Barron called it right… our original founders would never have been able to imagine the opulent lighting, the fine food or the stunning floral centrepieces that brought the room to life. It was a world away from the dusty WA of the 1920s.
But while our lifestyles may have changed immeasurably over 100 years, our values have not. A century into the life of Wesley College and we still focus on trying to do good for others, as evident from the announcement that Wesley College was launching the Sarah Hardey Centenary Scholarship – to offer a Wesley education to students who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
Everyone in the room was invited to make a pledge towards the fund, and they rose to the occasion – queuing at the Generosity Lounge to offer donations. Kindness abounded. One donor gave a generous gift saying: “I was lucky enough to come to Wesley because of a scholarship, so helping to fund this one feels really good.”
College Captain, Jimmy Timcke, also noted the kindness of the Wesley community in his address. He said: “The true specialty of a Wesley education is the belief in the people you’re surrounding your child with; with good people and people that look out for each other and have our best interests at heart.
“Wesley is a College where the community looks after its own. When you’re surrounded by people that are compassionate and courageous and celebrate not just those that excel, but those that overcome the fear of doing; no matter what you might look like, no matter what language you might speak at home and no matter what you might dream of, you will find success.”
Time and time again, the theme of community was raised. The theme of how Wesley has a special spirit because we think of others.
Of course, that went straight out the window (if only for a moment) when it was time to draw the winner of the stunning $6,300 necklace donated by Kimberley Fine Diamonds. Everyone with a ticket crossed their fingers and thought: ‘I hope it’s me!’
Drawing the lucky number was Frauke Bolten-Boshammer, owner of Kimberley Fine Diamonds. She had travelled to the Gala Ball from Kununurra to share her motivation for donating such a special piece of jewellery. She said: “Wesley is in my blood – if I see the blazer, I still get goosebumps. I had my son, Fritz Bolten, here from 1985 to 1986; my son, Peter Bolten, from 1993 to 1996; I had my grandson, Rick Bolten, here from 2010 to 2013, and I hope that my grandson Peter Magnay will join the College in the near future too!”
And then the moment of truth. There were 200 tickets in the draw – each corresponding to a number etched on champagne glasses sold at the Kimberley Fine Diamonds Sparkling Bar. Any number could have come out, but – as fate would have it – Frauke’s fingers connected with the number 23… as in 1923.
Sometimes the stars just align like that on special occasions. Or perhaps – just maybe – our founders were looking down and letting us know they approve of how we’re doing. Either way, it was a special moment in a night packed with special moments – not least for the winner, Anna-Lisa Baker.
As the band Little Belle set about filling the dancefloor, there were no arguments that the night was worthy of a celebration that’s been a century in the making. We look forward to the next one, in 2123!
We’d like to thank the following sponsors and supporters who made such an incredible evening possible: the Matthews family, Goldfields Explosives, Kimberley Fine Diamonds, Mineovation Consulting, Vicki Fitzgerald and The Pirate Ship Foundation, Annaliese Maffescioni of Signature Floral Design, and our Gala Ball committee volunteers: Bronwyn David, Rachael Matthews, Kate Petersen, and Paige Sullivan.
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