The Return of the SHS Community Dinner

Jean Sung

November 7th, 2022 marked the day of Scarsdale’s first Community Dinner since the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020, bringing people of all ages to the high school cafeteria for a fun night of food and festivities. The annual event began in 2017 to raise funds for regions affected by Hurricane Maria. “The last time we had one that was like this was in 2019,” said SHS Student Government advisor Margaret Barton. The event took place on the night before Election Day, a date carefully coordinated by the student government. “We intentionally do it the evening before Election Day so students don’t have school the next day to encourage them to come,” explained Barton. For a ticket fee of $20 each, all attendees had the opportunity to enjoy an all-you-can-eat feast, as well as activities such as face painting and cookie decorating! 

The event, hosted by Scarsdale High School’s very own student government, featured food from four local restaurants—Candlelight Inn, Pizzarelli’s, Giannoni’s, and Jade Spoon—as well as desserts from various cultures graciously donated by the PTA. From caesar salad, garlic knots, and vodka pasta to flavored wings, sesame chicken, and egg rolls, the Community Dinner provided food for people of all preferences. “For the restaurants, we wanted to get a variety of foods…we wanted to get local restaurants because it’s something that would appeal to a lot of people in Scarsdale and it’s something that helps the business community in general,” explained Matthew Barotz ’23, a senior class representative.

Each class government also planned different activities for entertainment, including face painting, cookie decorating, coloring, various games, and more. By the end, many participants sported red hearts and butterflies on their right cheeks, and even more walked around with completely yellow faces!  

The night’s entertainment featured Tri-M and For Good Measure, the music-centric clubs of Scarsdale High School. From peaceful classics played by talented violinists and cellists to riveting solos by solo singers, attendees enjoyed diverse types of music with their delicious meals. Non-members of music clubs also came on the stage to sing their favorite songs, enabling the diners to experience a rendition of “Glimpse of Us” by Joji sung by a group of Scarsdale High School juniors. 

“Something that’s great about the event is that it accomplishes two main goals that [the] student government always has, which is obviously raising money for charity… And it’s not something like a bake sale – it gets the entire community together after school,” remarked Barotz when asked about the overarching intent behind the Community Dinner. People of all ages—high school students, young children with their parents, teachers, and more—came together for the special night, filling the room with laughter and conversation. 

Regarding the other component of charity, “we tried to choose something that we knew would draw people in and get them to donate money. We wanted it to be something that [felt] close to home to a lot of people,” said Barotz. This year, the student government decided to donate all proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, an organization dedicated to fighting blood cancer. “We know that there are students in the high school now who have had family members or they themselves have been afflicted with the disease, so that was one of the thoughts we had,” added Barton. The SHS student government is excited to help the cause and plans to donate the $10,000 they raised from the night.