Autism Spectrum Australia

Tommy K's Adventures: The South Coast Gala

  • Posted: 17/11/2016
  • Author: Thomas Kuzma
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South Coast Gala Blog

Darling Harbour was awfully packed on a Saturday afternoon as a man in a red puffy shirt and puffy pants ran to the nearest train station. A Ukulele in one hand a McDonalds in the other, Thomas ran as hard as he could to catch a train that would get him back to his apartment.

Just making it, with three minutes to spare, he munched down on some chips, satisfying his hungry stomach as he prepared himself for the night ahead. That night he was going to:


Okay, enough with the dramatic opening. It has been a good 3 weeks since I wowed the people from Wollongong, I think it’s time to tell you guys about the stunning night I had all those weeks ago. As I ran into the apartment the first things to go were my wig and my ukulele, they would have no need where I was going. I donned my elegant pants, my spiffy shirt and my machismo jacket and I proceeded to locate my belongings for the night ahead.

With my hair up, my eyebrows plucked and my nostrils clean I eagerly awaited to be picked up by mum and dad. Once mum and dad arrived we all took the trip from Parramatta all the way down to Wollongong.

With the lack of sleep, and my mind racing, I dozed off the instance we left Parra. The trip was a delightful one, I woke up to see the coast and the delightful destination where I would be MCing that night. Oh yes, you heard me correctly, I would be the Master of Ceremony that faithful September night!

My mother, father and I strolled in and made our way upstairs. We were amazed to see the amount of time and effort that was put into such an event like this! There were bands playing, that’s right, plural. Artists had showcased some of their beautiful paintings and there were some items on show for the silent auction.

Working the room I met some lovely ladies from the 19th table, I joked around with Trevor Clark and meet the friends of the band. “Whoa whoa whoa” you say “There was a band?” oh you haven’t seen anything yet!

Walking in, I saw the room and by god it was amazing. A spectrum of colour filled the room, from one side to the other, there was a beautiful array of tables with coloured seats. Moving through the hall I met with Bruce Rowles, Aspect’s lovely South Coast Principal. We caught up and had everything ready for the show. Now we just had to play the waiting game….

The waiting  game sucks, who’s up for hungry hungry hippos?

Everyone came into the lovely hall and I knew the night had truly begun. Two lovely kids called Michael and Gabriel came to the stand and led us in singing Happy Birthday to the South Coast School. I have never seen such a cute rendition of Happy Birthday.

We were lucky enough to have some of the school’s original patrons come up for the cake cutting. It wouldn’t be a birthday party if there wasn’t cake, now would it? Bruce took to the stage and introduced the night, welcoming the guests and thanking everyone for making this a special night. That’s when he introduced the Master of Ceremony, no not the master of the night that would be Batman. That night, the MC would be ME.

I got up on stage told them a little about myself. I made sure not to roast too much, but I had some quips. In the red corner was table 1, but I didn’t know them, so I moved right along. I talked about table 14 because they were with the band and I couldn’t go past the luminous ladies at table 19.

I introduced the acting CEO of Aspect Trevor Clark to the stage who talked a bit about Aspect and introduced the artistically talented and hilarious Tim Sharp. I got to see some of Tim’s wonderful artworks and jokes.

Whilst Trevor interviewed Tim, we were served our entrees. Now I am not the type of guy to be excited about things-nope I’m sorry I couldn’t type that with a straight face, they did something really interesting with the entrees. I discovered mine was in TOWER FORM!

To be honest, I like my food more when I get to quote Toy Story’s Woody, “Reach for the Sky!”

Halfway through demolishing my well-structured meal, I realised I had to run back on the floor. It was time to draw the first raffle of the night! Not only that, I was VERY lucky to be running the raffle with an Australian celebrity!

Now I am sure there are some delightful readers here that possibly watch ‘Home and Away’, whether they are at home, or away. Well we had the gorgeous and exquisitely talented Aida Nicodemou here to help us draw the winners in our first raffle!

After a bit of funny flirtatious back and forth we got into the raffle, boy did we have some wicked prizes as well. There were so many prizes that I don’t have enough time to list every last one. Rest assured we had many delighted raffle winners that came up and it was so lovely to meet every  one of them.

With the prizes handed out, I thanked Aida, we hugged and we went on to showcase the South Coast School students in a lovely video. Whilst we watched the video we ate a mouth-watering main course!

Trust me I wasn’t here just for the good food. I was back on stage to bring forth Woonona High School and their talented netball team to- what? Oh I’m sorry, it was at this point I realised I was saying Wynona High School instead of Woonona. That’s what happens when you watch Stranger Things on Netflix, you think that Wynona Ryder is in everything.

The lovely coaches came on stage and talk about how they raised the money for Aspect. Bake stalls are always the best, personally I like those rice crispy squares and those chocolate noodlely things, mmmm chocolate noodlely things…. Anyway I am getting side-tracked. Bruce humbly thanked the people from Woonona High School and accepted the cheque.

We instantly jumped into the live auction! I used the time to just take a breath. I had a glass of water and took a moment, getting ready for the next raffle. It was at this time that the dessert rolled out and I had no idea that this would be in tower form too! One by one each of the items were sold and before I knew it, I was welcoming Radio Birdman’s Lead Guitarist, who actually is one of our South Coast teachers! Thank you table 14.

There was rocking music and everyone was partying down. The dance floor was filled very quickly as everyone started rocking to the epic music played. Mum and dad joined in and I could see excitement and fun fill the room.

I used this time to just take a breath and recollect myself before I had to go back on stage. I love pontificating, but I do need my resting moments, otherwise I burn out.

I came back in and enjoyed dancing with several people, showing off my really bad dance moves and before we knew it, it was time to start speaking again. It was time for the second raffle draw and I was really delighted to be drawing the winners with Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury. Our charisma’s matched more than Alan Shore and Denny Crane, our quips and wit were so on fire that we were smokin’!

As we announced our winners, dad misread one of mum’s tickets. We called out E25, to which dad got mum up, to show off her ticket. As mum showed her ticket I saw that she had a dastardly B! It was at this time that I realised E and B sound way too similar… Sorry mum, better luck next time.

The Lord in his grace thanked us for inviting him here and talked about how much of a wonderful time he had and how the lovely people in this room were making a difference every day.  He gave the brilliant advice, that we should  always accept each challenge life throws us with vigour and panache.

Sadly the Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbury had to leave, but that just meant that Bruce and I could take on the last raffle of the night. With every draw people started telling me to give one of the prizes to mum. If it wasn’t the netballers  from Woonona Highschool, it was the lavish ladies  from Table 19. Sadly mum will have to wait till next year’s Gala to go in the draw for a prize.

Alas, in the end every last prize was received and the silent auction finished, however there was one more surprise that was in store for everyone. In my best Oprah voice I asked everyone to look under their chairs because there were 5 final winners of the night!

Slowly people started to realise they won, and one person discovered they had sticky tape under their chair. The first, second, third and fourth winners came up but the 5th ticket was a no show.  We asked people to check the seats of those 2 or 3 who had to leave early, to which there was nothing. 3, 4 and 5 minutes passed and still no one.

We were about to give up when we heard a squeal from Aida Nicodema! It turns out she was in a thrilling convo and didn’t realise what was going on. She accepted her prize and we wrapped up the night. The incredible Bruce Rowles who set everything up thanked me, handing me a present and we wrapped up the night with some spectacular dancing!

Bruce and I would both like to thank State Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson, Aida Nicodemou, Trevor Clark, and the parents involved when the school began 30 years ago. It was a pleasure seeing you all there that lovely September night.

As I left that night I thanked Bruce for choosing me as MC and allowing me to partake in such an amazing night. On the way home I contemplated over how everything went down and I have to say that had to be one of the best weekends I had in a long time. Oh and a deer crossed in front of us. Thank you dad for having such amazing reflexes and stopping to let it cross.


Till next time folks I hope you enjoy the weekend ahead!

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Tommy K's Adventures: The South Coast Gala