Valentine’s Day Surprise with Stanley House!

This past Monday, February 15, the Stanley House hosted an online Valentine’s Day Stan Surprise.

This past Monday, February 15, the Stanley House hosted an online Valentine’s Day Stan Surprise. According to Stanley House President Caroline Bednar ’22, “the main purpose of a Stan Surprise is to host an event full of [activities like] food, music, and spikeball tournaments, while also supporting a different organization each time one is hosted.” Despite the limitations of the virtual platform, they decided to keep the tradition going.

This year, Bednar, Stanley Community Service Representative Jess Fernandez ’22, and the rest of the Stanley House Council chose to partner with Womanspace, an organization whose mission is to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence through empowerment and supportive services. “It’s significant that we support organizations like Womanspace during the Covid-19 pandemic because many individuals and families find themselves trapped at home with their domestic and/or sexual abusers due to quarantine restrictions,” Fernandez said. This year, she hopes to raise awareness and support the resources and services Womanspace provides, including “temporary housing, several domestic and sexual abuse hotlines, and more.”

The event itself consisted of a showcase of a series of performances, ranging from singing to dancing, and even a duet performance dedicated to the Stanley House. Performers included Rory Connor ’22, Evelyn Dugan ’21, Alistair Lam ’23, Nolan Lee ’21, Minh Le Tran ’22, the Larries, former Stanley House Prefect Lauren Recto ’20, and former Stanley House President and founder of Stan Surprise Danica Bajaj ’21. In addition to these performances, students had the chance to win a Gingered Peach Basket and a pair of Comfys for themselves and their valentine by donating to Womanspace and entering a raffle. The winners of the night were Morgan McKibben ’22 and Olivia Simonian ’23.

Fernandez’s favorite part of planning this event was collaborating with other Lawrentians. “It’s so beautiful and powerful to see and hear them express their talents—there is so much joy and beauty in the small moments, and this festival is full of wonderful moments that capture their passions,” she said.

Similarly, Bednar loved working alongside the Council “to keep this tradition alive and put [their] own virtual spin on it.” She was also most excited to hear the performances and all the talent in the arts performances.

Reflecting on the event, Fernandez said, “We wanted to create an event of celebration and joy because we want to continue fostering a sense of connection and love within the Lawrenceville community…[We want to] give new and returning students a glimpse of the love and support that can be found in all corners of the Lawrenceville campus, especially during a Stan Surprise, and remind students that even though thousands of miles can separate us, they can’t shatter the bonds we have created.”

Sara Xu ’22 agreed, “I thought the event had a great balance of beautiful performances and reminders about Womanspace and the importance of the organization. Even though it was held virtually, I was still able to feel the presence of the community coming together, even if it had to be through the chat. Overall, considering that Stan Surprise events are usually centered around food and in-person enjoyment, I think that the organizers did a great job in still providing fun entertainment and making the event meaningful,” she said.

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