Alphington Grammar hosts sell-out Winter Nights Gala Ball

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A crowd of 300 gathered in the Park Hyatt Ballroom on Saturday the 1st of June to celebrate Alphington Grammar School’s 35th year. The commemorative Winter Nights gala ball had the room aglow with shades of blue, icy greens, and stars speckled on the floors and ceiling.

With a bustling crowd of current parents, staff, alumni, and members of the Greek community, the ball captured everyone’s nostalgia and imagination as videos and live performances detailed the journey of where the school started and how far it has come.

The Park Hyatt ballroom. Photo: Brendan Creaser.
Winter Ball tablescape. Photo: Brendan Creaser.
Pre-dinner drinks. Photo: Brendan Creaser.

Hosted by emcee Con Lazareth, the night began with pre-dinner drinks in the foyer before the doors opened to the Winter wonderland at 7pm. Cover band The Baker Boys enticed guests into the space with their music, while DJ Con Vathanakis brought everyone onto the dancefloor to keep the party going well into the night.

Alphington Grammar 35 Year Anniversary Ball
The dance floor. Photo: Brendan Creaser.

The formal proceedings featured a commemorative video with real archival footage showcasing the school’s beginnings and strong trajectory. Guests were also treated to an energetic Greek dance performance by a group of Alphington Grammar alumni who all met at the school many years ago and still keep in contact, followed by a modern vocal and dance performance by alumni, current students, and staff.

Alphington Grammar 35 Year Anniversary Ball
Alumni Greek Dance troupe. Photo: Brendan Creaser.

Addressing the room were President of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Mr Bill Papastergiadis OAM; Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Mr Emmanuel Kakavelakis; and Chair of School Council, Mr Michael Karamitos, who acknowledged the past visionaries of the Greek Community who established the school, as well as all the past Chairs of Council who helped grow the school in difficult times.

The School Principal Dr Vivianne Nikou, who has served the school as Principal for the last 11 years, addressed the sellout event by reflecting on her time as Principal, acknowledging the long serving staff of 20, 25 and 30 years of service, as well as thanking all those who have contributed to the success of the school over the decades.

Principal Dr Vivianne Nikou. Photo: Brendan Creaser.
Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis. Photo: Brendan Creaser.
Chair of School Council, Michael Karamitos. Photo: Brendan Creaser.

All members of School Council, alongside current School Captains Anastasia Fokianos and Pantelli Saris, were invited to the stage to cut the stunning cake generously provided by Penny Cakes. After the cutting of the celebratory cake, guests could relax and dance the night away.

A live auction was conducted of a stunning jewellery set made of emeralds and diamonds designed and donated by XRISTO Jeweller to mark Alphington Grammar’s 35 years, which certainly was a show stopper. This was followed by a surprise special live guest appearance by renowned violinist Evangeline Victoria which ended with a mass Zorba dance for everyone to join in.

A Raffle and Silent Auction were also held electronically throughout the night. With the first-place raffle prize being two airfares to Greece, second place being $5000 worth of furniture from LV Furniture, and third an Apple Macbook Pro, the tension was high as the raffle prizes were drawn electronically.

A wide selection of Silent Auction items kept guests busy as bids were made and countered; all winners had something to be pleased about at the close of the auction.

Alphington Grammar 35 Year Anniversary Ball
Alphington Grammar Staff and Senior Management. Photo: Brendan Creaser.

The School is thankful to the many generous sponsors who made such a night possible. Platinum sponsors included Directed Group lead by CEO Steve Siolis, both a member of the school board and a past parent of the school; as well as DTMF commercial cleaners, a long-term partner of the school. They were instrumental to the success of the evening. Alongside them, Alphington Grammar School made sure to highlight the incredible contributions of XRISTO Jewellery, Penny Cakes, and LV Furniture, and sends their gratitude to all other sponsors of the evening.

The night was concluded by a final lively dance set by DJ Con Vathianakis which got everyone up on the dance floor. The cheers and laughter were heard well into the early hours of the morning.

“It has been a privilege and an honour to be able to lead Alphington Grammar School through its growth and development this past decade,” Principal Dr Nikou said.

“It is without a doubt the Jewel in the Crown of Melbourne’s Greek Community, showcasing what an Independent School based on Hellenic values can be in the Diaspora.”

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