Seniors lunch with parents

By Alexia Boyarsky and A.J. Calabrese

The mood seemed aquatic at this year’s Senior Father-Son luncheon. The smell of the ocean permeated the outdoor patio of the upper Bel-Air Bay Club as seniors and their dads stood in line for hamburgers.

Simultaneously, but halfway across town, the senior girls and their mothers convened at the Luxe Hotel in Brentwood for the annual Senior Mother- Daughter Luncheon May 9.

In contrast to the flowery theme of the girls’ event, model ships adorned each table as centerpieces and at each place setting stood small bottles containing messages, quotes that were passed around and read as everyone settled into their seats. The speakers, President Tom Hudnut and his son Peter, focused the majority of their time at the podium on Peter’s life as a water polo player and his journey to Beijing with the U.S. men’s water polo team and their capturing of the silver medal.

As festivities started and people filed into the club, they were greeted by the Hudnuts at the door. From there, fathers and sons could get their pictures taken, play air hockey, foosball or ping-pong against each other or opposing teams of fathers and sons, or generally mingle, with complimentary soft drinks in hand.

In their speeches, both younger and elder Hudnuts recalled the hard work it took for Peter to reach the point of making the 2008 Olympic team and the self-assurance he gleaned from his father’s own confidence in him.

At the Luxe, time was spent mingling and speaking or posing for the camera, as girls and mothers chatted with friends and stopped to get their photo taken by the photographer in the corner, all while sipping on bright pink and orange drinks.

Inside, a banquet hall decorated in pinks, greens, purples and whites awaited the attendees. After a course of grilled salmon salad, the keynote speaker, Daryn Kagan took the stage.

After speaking about her experiences first as a news anchor at CNN and later starting her own website of “positive news,” Kagan advised the girls about things she’d wished she’d known at their age.

“Know that being mean isn’t a good thing,” she said. “Even though it looks like the mean girls are getting ahead right now, in the end niceness takes you farther.”

Kagan also advised the crowd to transform seemingly negative events into positive opportunities. Speaking about the time after she lost her job at CNN, Kagan said that she wouldn’t be where she is now had she continued working for CNN.

After Kagan’s speech, and while the guests were finishing up their fruits dipped into the chocolate fountain and freshly prepared crepes, the senior girls from both the Bel Canto choir and the Chamber Singers took the stage to sing three pieces.

They sang “Family” from “Dreamgirls,” “For Good” from the musical “Wicked” and an Irish ballad named “Blessing.”

As keepsakes from the event, each pair of mother and daughter took home a pashmina in either green, pink, purple or white, which was tied behind their chair, and a silver frame with an inspirational quote on it.