Seniors Say “Thank You” as Community Turns Out to Support Maitri Fundraiser Dinner

On March 9, the Mount Madonna School (MMS) twelfth grade culinary studies class and teacher Sara Sobkoviak hosted more than 100 guests for dinner in Corralitos. The Maitri Fundraiser Dinner was organized to showcase the culinary skills students have honed in their class this year, and to raise money for the nonprofit organizations the students will visit during their upcoming learning journey to India.

There was a silent auction, raffle, and excellent entertainment from Doug Hofkins, the “Surfing Magician.” This successful effort netted $12,000, and for days afterwards, students, parents and other guests were talking about the good time and great food. Sobkoviak and her students, meanwhile were bursting with appreciation for those who supported their event. What follows are reflections from Sobkoviak and the students on their experience.

“Yesterday was amazing! The students rose to the occasion and proved that they have all the tenacity to make things happen! Thank you all for being with us last night, parents for your guidance and major support, you were all so wonderful!! And thank you to my students who worked really hard and had to put up with me constantly reminding them about every detail; they never complained and took pride in what they were doing! I feel like I have a deeper connection with each one of them and can’t wait to see what they do in India and beyond! A hearty appreciation to all who donated lovely produce, cake, ice cream, and wine!

“We had many farms supporting us and making donations to our kitchen for this meal. Thank you to Crystal Bay Farms, Live Earth Farm, Corralitos Market, Penny Ice Creamery, SunRidge Farms, Black China Bakery, Julie’s Flower Power Tea, Alfaro Family Vineyards, and the many parents and friends who have contributed.”

“The Maitri dinner was an absolute success! The students were able to provide their guests with a beautiful, professional and heart-warming community event. My favorite moments of our dinner were hearing the laughter and joy filling the dining room during dinner service, and seeing the pride on our students’ faces as they watched how everyone was thoroughly enjoying all the hard work they put into the food, service and ambience.: – Sara Sobkoviak

“This process affected me in a very positive way. I had a ton of fun and gained a lot of valuable knowledge and experience. It has made me want to do more catering and event planning in the future. I feel proud, satisfied, excited to be able to give away all the money that we made, and very tired and sore. The overall emotion I am feeling is proud, of myself and of all my classmates for doing such a good job.” – Anika Compoginis

“I really enjoyed preparing for the dinner. It was good to be organized and have checklists and menus with ingredients and directions, because it was very easy to understand. I learned about how much easier things are when you have a full team and a set system. None of us could have done it ourselves.” – Imogen Cockrum

“I learned that many hands make light work. Constantly pushing to find a way to be productive is important, we all lift each other up when we do this. I learned a great deal about general planning and how critical it is to divide up work and utilize available resources. I loved serving people and getting to interact with everyone. Everyone was enjoying the event and took pride in fulfilling their roles. I felt extremely grateful to Sara for offering this wonderful opportunity, and our class helped create an unforgettable memory.” – John Dias

“All the work that everyone put in to help with prep and organization on Friday made a huge difference for Saturday. Putting an event together like this is a lot more work than people think and every detail takes a team effort. This process made me really proud of my class and it was a huge learning experience.” – Lillian Wayne

“Overall the dinner was definitely a success and I felt that everything went very smoothly. I am happy to say that I also was able to learn a lot from this process. The way things were organized made it seem closer to a professional operation than any sort of fundraising effort or event that I have been that involved with before. This experience allowed me to gain valuable experience, taught me culinary skills, and helped me to learn more about cooking and serving on a larger scale.” – Luca Peruzzi

“I learned a lot about the incredible amount of work that has to be put into a big event like this, and how I can carry these ideas forward into other possible events. I feel happy to have been a part of such a beautiful event, there were many compliments and everyone there seemed to be having a great time!” – Mara Peruzzi

“We all came together nicely, with everyone working to help and offering up assistance without being asked. I also felt like I became closer to people I worked with and I feel a great deal of gratitude, compassion and respect.” – Noah Kaplan

“This process affected me in a very positive way. It felt so good to have accomplished this huge task and I really enjoyed being a part of the team. It felt really good to see people enjoying the event and benefitting from the hard work we all put into it.” – Priyanka Bharghavan

“This fundraising event absolutely taught me a lot. I am so happy for the opportunity to put in hard work for a good cause and have a fun experience with my peers. I learned the value of cooperation and how to work on a strict timeline, under quite a lot of stress. I found that simply communication is the key to situations like these. Overall, my take away from the event is that you can do a whole lot when you put your mind to something, and the reward is indescribable” – Sage Turner

“The whole night went pretty well for everyone and for me. The food was great, the decorations were nice, and all of the guests seemed like they enjoyed themselves and the setting – and we also raised far beyond our goal!” – Samith Lakka

Senior Kaili Sullens offered a perspective on her class worked so hard to make the event successful.

“I think what motivated us were the kids,” said Sullens. “We knew how much this money would benefit the incredible organizations and the people with them. THAT really kept us going, working so hard and doing it happily.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a community of learners dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.