The Parish School Blog

Jill Wood and the Adventure Play program honored at The Future’s So Bright Gala

Written by Amanda Arnold
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The Future’s So Bright” is the theme for The Parish School gala this year, and as they embark on the year 2020 with a new head of school, growing campus and thriving students — the theme is reflective of the growing success of the school’s program. The 27th annual gala will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, January 24, 2020, at The Ballroom at Bayou Place, 500 Texas, in Houston.

The annual gala is the school’s biggest fundraiser and has grown steadily in recent years. This year’s goal is to continue to increase much-needed philanthropy to maintain the school’s high standards of faculty, support and innovation, as well as to provide financial assistance for Parish families. Jill Wood will be honored for founding the Adventure Play program and continuing to advocate for child-directed play opportunities in our community, which has proven to build children’s independence, problem-solving skills and imagination.

Gala chairs Susan and Brian McConn and Ofelia and Vuk Vujasinovic are planning a fun-filled night with entertainment that includes laser lights, fantasy and futuristic performances. Underwriters include Kirkland and Ellis, LLP; Fayez, Susan and Lori Sarofim; Adonia & Kevin Cokinos; Kate and Doug Bacon; Mo and Ric Campo; The Ellwood Foundation; Margaret and Ben Morris; Olga and Gerald Balboa; Carolyn and Platt Davis; and Jenny Elkins. If you’re interested in joining the fun – hurry; The Parish School’s gala has sold out in the past, so early reservations are recommended.

“Our daughter is in her fourth year at The Parish School, has a vivid imagination, and enjoys singing and dancing. We’ve seen her confidence soar as she improves her communication, social/emotional skills and motor development,” said gala co-chair Susan McConn. “Please join us for what promises to be a fun evening to help this school continue bringing life-changing services and education to children and families,” Susan added.

The Parish School’s Adventure Playground is on three acres with natural features like dirt, grass, sticks, wildlife and various scavenged construction materials. Children have access to hammers, nails, hand drills, saws, shovels and post-hole diggers for building structures and working together on problem-solving skills. Ms. Wood founded the playground in 2008 in response to a growing need for child-led, free play to counterbalance the heavily scheduled routines overtaking children’s lives.

The Parish School students are taught by master’s level educators and highly trained specialists. They learn to use their individual strengths to compensate for learning challenges and to develop the skills necessary to thrive. The Parish School’s gala supports the school’s programs and provides financial assistance for families who may otherwise be unable to afford these specialized services for their children.

“Partnering with The Parish School has been a true blessing and has changed our lives forever,” said Ofelia Vujasinovic. “Vuk and I are honored to co-chair The Parish School’s ‘The Future’s So Bright’ Gala.”

For information on gala and table and ticket sales, visit


classroom learning


Gala Chairs: Susan & Brian McConn and Ofelia & Vuk Vujasinovic

Gala Committee: Kate and Doug Bacon, Olga and Gerald Balboa, Adonia and Kevin Cokinos, Margaret and T.J. Farnsworth, Kristen and Shannon Fluellen, Beatriz and Bennett Goodman, Bailey and Simon Haidamous, Jennifer and Luke Johnson, Ann Marie and Chris Kolkhorst, Susan and Brian McConn, Ashleigh and J.R. Rickertsen, Joanna and David Rissmiller, Jennifer Campo and Rusty Rogers, and Katherine and Tyler Smith