Junior-Senior banquet: Enduring Ashley Hall tradition
Ashley Hall juniors and seniors gathered on a recent Saturday morning, carrying on the long-established tradition of the Junior-Senior banquet held after the prom. This year’s event took place at Carter’s Kitchen on the square in I’on. True to expectations, it was the perfect venue to share brunch and celebrate friendships as the seniors near completion of their Ashley Hall education.
The banquet, hosted by the junior class for the senior class, is a long-held tradition at Ashley Hall, dating back to 1909. Director of the Upper School at Ashley Hall, Mary Schweers stated “Every year I look forward to the annual tradition of prom and banquet for our juniors and seniors at Ashley Hall. It is a special weekend where the students celebrate the unique closeness and friendships that are such a trademark of Ashley Hall.” This year was no exception.
Juniors rekindled stories and entertained their departing classmates with well-rehearsed skits and parodies, often recollecting memorable events over their years at Ashley Hall. Planning for this event began early in the school year, establishing a date, searching for an appropriate venue, planning the menu and selecting a theme. The theme of this year’s event was Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Carter’s Kitchen was truly transformed into a “wonderland” as decorations complemented the pale yellow walls, simple wooden tables and normally subdued décor of the popular Mount Pleasant restaurant.
Legendary chef Bob Carter and his culinary team were wonderful to work with as the junior class banquet committee strived to create an inspiring menu to satisfy the myriad palates of the 100 young women. Brunch staples were complemented by more sophisticated chef-inspired fare such as Vanilla Crème Brulee French Toast and chef Bob’s version of Toad in the Hole; scrambled eggs primavera with texas toast and rich creamy mornay sauce. In addition, each junior-senior pair was presented with two delectable desserts to share: Lemon Meringue Tart and Chocolate Ganache Torte. Chef Bob and team took note of specific dietary requirements as well, offering vegan and vegetarian options and noting specific food allergies.
The serving team at Carter’s Kitchen was impeccable in all aspects of their jobs, with professional yet friendly service. From seating to serving, the pace was relaxing and unobtrusive as skits were performed while dining. The entire staff did an excellent job. Reflecting on the brunch, Schweers stated “It was an ideal place to enjoy a savory meal with students and teachers. As I walked back to my car with my party favor of a beautiful china tea cup and saucer, I reflected on how a warm and inviting restaurant can really make an event. Carter’s Kitchen is that kind of place, and I know I will go back soon.