Frank Frost Photography: albuquerque photographer » an albuquerque photographer who loves what he does

APS Gold Bar Gala 2019

 

Last night was the APS Gold Bar Gala, which means this morning, I woke up on a high. For those of you unfamiliar with an APS Gold Bar, it is a peanut butter and chocolate treat that once graced the lunch tray of lucky Albuquerque Public School students until someone somewhere said “too much sugar” and the delectable treats were removed from the lunch line-up. It couldn’t have been an easy decision. Those Gold Bars go way back. They were like lunch room currency. I’m sure there was a collective groan across the city when they ceased production, a real Obi-Wan Kenobi moment: “I felt a great disturbance in the Albuquerque Public School System, as if thousands of students voices cried out in terror and Gold Bars were suddenly gone.” The Gala portion of the night was created to recognize and honor 14 selfless high school seniors and 2 hall of honor educators. Put the two together, and you’ve got the Gold Bar Gala. 

Now, you might think that the high I am currently riding  is a result of consuming two, yes, two peanut butter and chocolate gold bars at the gala, the first of which entered my mouth before I even ate my salad, but, you would be wrong; it’s only part of the high. The real reason is that last night was everything good in the world and when you are surrounded by people dedicated to making a real difference in the lives of children and their community, you can’t help but wake up with a spring in your step. Hopefully, that spring will last all day, ‘cause I don’t even want to know how many calories are in those Gold Bars. I should have just glued them to my hips, ‘cause baby, that’s where they are going to end up.

A little backstory: Kelsie and I were thrilled to attend a tasting of the Gold Bars at the APS Food and Nutrition Services kitchen. The over 900 Gold Bars were hand dipped in chocolate by the students of Sandia High School Culinary Arts, under the watchful eye of Unna Valdez. It felt sort of like Kelsie and I had both won a Gold Ticket and were visiting Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I’m not sure who Kelsie is in this scenario, but if you’ve ever seen me eat chocolate, you would know that I am definitely Augustus Gloop.

 

Kelsie kept it cool. I, on the other hand, have the crazy eyes of someone about to eat peanut butter and chocolate. CRAZY GOLD BAR EYES!
Hand dipping, people. This is serious.
I like to think if Willy Wonka were there, he would have said: “Cheri, do you know what happened to the middle aged woman who got all the Gold Bars she ever wanted? She lived happily ever after…but had to Zumba 12 hours a day. So cut it out and quit shoving those in your mouth.”

As we arrived at the Gold Bar Gala, we were greeted by mascots from all of the high schools. They were  high-fiving guests, giving hugs and posing for pictures. It would have been nice if I had thought to photograph them. I didn’t. I ran into friends immediately upon arriving and forgot. This may or may not but definitely DID have something to do with Gold Bar Excitement.

The evening was simply wonderful:

I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’m pretty sure I was one of the few people in this room who ate the entire Gold Bar the moment she sat down at the table. If you also said, “I am totally eating this NOW” as soon as you arrived at your table, I salute you.
The 2019 Class of Selfless Seniors. This display will be featured in every APS high school, at corporate sponsor locations, and images of all the Selfless Seniors will be on display on citywide billboards and at the Albuquerque Sunport. I personally think Google should make them their header photo.
A stunning program for a stunning night. I was also holding it up to hide the fact one of my Gold Bars was already gone and in my belly.

And there they are…our Selfless Seniors. 14 people who will change the world.
Behold, the Gold Bar Tree. The Gold Bars beneath it were available for sale. I happen to think that Gold Bars should take a cue from the Girl Scouts and be available for purchase once a year outside grocery stores. I volunteer to man the booths.

As the night wore on, we heard story after story about the impact that one favorite teacher made on a young life. We watched high school seniors honored for being the unsung heroes that walk the halls of our Albuquerque high schools every day, doing as much good as they can to as many people as they can without a thought of reward or recognition. (Which is totally why they deserve both)

We laughed.
We cried.
We felt hopeful and proud of our schools, our students, our teachers and those that support them. And at the end of the evening, we left with a reminder of that which we already knew full well…that ONE person can make a difference.

One.

And if ONE can make a difference, imagine what many could do…they could change the world…for GOOD.

~Cheri Frost