Whispering Palms’ Wine and Tapas fundraiser a success


It was a good night. Hyatt Regency Poolside saw Whispering Palms School’s guests arrive Friday for the 6th Annual Wine and Tapas fundraiser. Smiles were everywhere as people saw the tastefully lit venue sparkling with the water and the stars above aided by the cool wind.

Finger food and delicious whites and reds provided by Pacific Trading Corp. delighted all the guests. More than 200 Whispering Palms supporters and friends came to enjoy the evening of conversation and good company at this sold-out event.

There was an unprecedented number of silent auction items ranging from hotel rooms from the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Islands Club, Laolao Bay Golf & Resort, maintenance package from Atkins Kroll, meal certificates, Lego sets from Lollipops, Gold’s Gym memberships, artwork from Greg Elliott and Nadia Richards, as well as rounds of golf with tennis and golf lessons to name just a few.

Adding more fun, guests rose to play “heads or tails” to win a lunch for two at Miyako.

A group of Department of Public Safety police officers, headed by officer Roy Kaipat, graced the evening by bringing their ukuleles and guitars to entertain the group after a grueling day of performing security detail for the former South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak. Their performance added class and a bit of local flavor to the evening.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of the event was the live auction items. The first up for bids was the Skydive. Young and old cheered on as the bids soared. The final bid was for $450. Everyone was imagining themselves drifting from the skies. SkyDive Saipan generously donated the exciting item.

The painting by Elina Gharti from Everest Kitchen was up next. Lisa McWilliams, Angie Mister, Kuen-Hee Han, the coordinators of the evening, hand-carried the painting around every table for guests to view. The beautiful piece entitled “It’s a New Day Ahead” captures the spirit of Saipan as a thoughtful reflection to Typhoon Soudelor with its crushing waves and peaceful sunset. The starting bid was for $300. With Brad Ruszala as the live auction emcee, every eye and ear were geared toward the next high bid. Just when the bidding seemed to have reached a plateau, another would be made.

The final bid was for an amazing $1,000. The most amazing part was to come next. A group of doctors and patrons of Everest Kitchen, bid for the painting to give it back to the restaurant. It was a show of true American spirit and generosity that may only be witnessed on Saipan.

Good feelings were shared by all. Everest Kitchen and Whispering Palms School have been friends since the inception of the restaurant and the relationship seemed well seared in the turn of events.

Conversations seemed to find no end as guests bought their share of wine and started competing for the final bids on the silent auction items. Another gentleman made a singular bid on Derrick Cutting’s Bootcamp membership and also returned it to Whispering Palms School. It was a good night for Whispering Palms School and family.

Whispering Palms is one of the oldest private schools on the island overlooking the lagoon on Navy Hill. It is a small non-denominational school.

Following were the event sponsors: Aces Tennis Academy, Amigo’s Pizza, Atkins Kroll Toyota, Big Garden Restaurant, BSEA Sunsports, Del Benson, Delta Management, Derek Cutting-Bootcamp Fitness, Elina Gharti Chhetri, Everest Kitchen, Fiesta Resort, Gold’s Gym, Greg Elliot, Hyatt Regency Saipan, IT&E, J.C. Tenorio Enterprises, Kanoa Resort, Laolao Bay Golf Resort, Lollipops, Mango Six, Minimax, Nadia Richards, Natural Nail Spa, Pacific Islands Club, Pacific Subsea Saipan, Pacific Trading Co., Pacific Wellness Center, Saipan Computer Services, Saipan Golf, Saipan Sea Adventures, Saipan Tennis Academy, Skydive Saipan, Spicy Thai Noodle Place, Sweet Escapes, and Wireless Ridge Nursery.

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