Jenks Academy for the Arts & Sciences will celebrate their successes over the past year at a Mardi Gras Ball hosted by Seth and Diane McDowell at their home in Chestnut Hill on March 2 from 8-11 p.m.

The event will feature live music with local jazz musician Michelle Lordi, New Orleans style cuisine catered by Top of the Hill Café, desserts donated by Night Kitchen Bakery, an open bar and a silent auction featuring items donated by many local businesses. All this will take place in a beautiful setting, decorated with a New Orleans vibe, made possible by the generosity of the McDowell family. Tickets are currently on sale and available online.

Jenks will present two “Friend of the Year” awards at the event to those whose contributions toward Jenks in the past year have significantly improved the lives of the school community.

Samuel Staten of Local 332 Union will receive one of the awards for his coordination and his union’s contributions to installing new lockers in the Jenks Academy Middle School.

“The old lockers were broken, outdated and could not be used by students, and the cost of new lockers and installation was not something our budget could support,” said Principal Mary Lynskey.

Thanks to Samuel, his son Malik and their team, the old lockers were removed and the new lockers were delivered to the third floor. The project was also supported by First Builders, an organization that gives back to the community while working to build the next generation of carpenters.

“Frank Baer organized a group of carpenters and apprentices to install the lockers saving our school $22,000,” Lynskey said.

The other “Friend of the Year” award recipient is Bob Elfant. When the school’s Funfest carnival had to be cancelled for rain last spring, Elfant donated to Friends of Jenks a sum equal to the net profits of the event from the prior year. His additional donation towards the Jenks GoFundMe campaign to replace stolen arts and music equipment allowed the Friends of Jenks to reach their goal for replacing items so that programs could continue uninterrupted this year.

“This event provides a great opportunity to support the school, have some fun, and see first-hand the positive impact of a community’s support for its neighborhood public school” said Haviva Goldman, the President of the Friends of J.S. Jenks, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that raises funds for Jenks.