Seniors graduate out of NCL

March 1, 2011 — by Megan Benzing

Senior Shea Sullivan has been in NCL for six years. On March 19, her time with the organization will draw to a close. The National Charity League class of 2011 is finishing final preparations for their Senior Presents, which honors the seniors who are leaving high school and NCL behind.
Sullivan feels nostalgic about her NCL years finally ending.

“We had so much fun together as a group,” said Sullivan, “and it gave me a chance to spend time with girls from other schools that I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know or would have lost touch with after middle school.”

The Saratoga-Los Gatos chapter of NCL includes girls who go to school or reside in the cities of Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno or Campbell. That includes the schools Saratoga High, Los Gatos High, St. Francis High, and others. The NCL class of 2011 holds 13 Saratoga High girls, with 11 doing Senior Presents. A mother-daughter couple can join NCL by getting sponsored from an existing member. A girl can be sponsored starting from sixth grade, and can officially join in seventh grade.

Along with Sullivan, senior Colleen Garland has also been in the NCL crowd since sponsorship in sixth grade.

“It makes me really sad to think its going to be over,” said Garland. “Not only has NCL been a part of me while I grew up over the last six years, it has been a nice way to spend time with my mom. It definitely makes me sad, but at the same time this ceremony marks the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life.”

According to Garland, the success of Senior Presents depends on the mothers. While the girls decide on themes, all of the options are presented by the mothers.

“The moms are responsible for designing the invitations, selecting a venue, approving dresses, selecting food items for the menu, and more,” said Sullivan. “The whole production is pretty much in their hands. For the daughters to prepare, we must get our dress, learn the father-daughter dance, and complete a certain amount of hours to participate.”

At the event, the girls are individually recognized for their accomplishments and then recognized as a group.

“It is a very formal event,” said Garland. “All the girls have strict dress requirements, strictly white dresses. When the ceremony begins, all the girls are brought on stage and a few people give speeches. After the speeches, each girl is brought up and recognized. After the ceremony is a dinner, and then a dance party. It gets pretty crazy!”

During the NCL years, daughters get to spend a lot of time with their mothers, volunteering and holding events.

“NCL really kept me connected to my mom,” said Garland. “But I love everything the organization stands for and I will definitely continue community service in college. I think overall, presents will be a good way to remember NCL, but also a nice way to say goodbye.”

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