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Willie Ross School for the Deaf to Host Annual Gala October 14

Longmeadow—Willie Ross School for the Deaf will hold its Annual Gala on Thursday, October 14, 2021 as a hybrid in-person and livestreamed event, with the in-person event taking place at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. The event will begin at 6 p.m.

Gala honorees include Barbara Garvey, John Gallup (posthumously) and John Ernst, founder and president of Ernst Financial Group.

Garvey currently serves on the WRSD board of trustees and has been involved with the school for over 35 years, also having served as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee. Gallup was a longtime board member and supporter of Willie Ross. He passed away in March of this year. Ernst has also been a longtime supporter of Willie Ross.


WRSD is holding an online auction as part of its annual Gala event. Bidding is live until October 13 and the auction can be found at Winners will be announced at the Gala.


To register or become a sponsor for the Gala, visit All virtual registrants will receive a streaming link and digital program on October 14. Registrants for the in-person event must be fully vaccinated in order to attend.


According to Bert Carter, President and CEO of WRSD, “Our annual Gala allows our community to come together and celebrate those who have played a critical role in the success of the Willie Ross School. Barbara Garvey, the late John Gallup and John Ernst are considered giants in terms of assuring the school’s success. We look forward to celebrating them and to bringing our school and our supporters together in this special in-person and virtual hybrid event.”


WRSD recently completed a $2.5 million renovation of the school’s Sidney Cooley Administration building, which accommodates its growing needs and programming. The renovation and expansion took two years to complete and added a second story to its administration building that features new space for interpreters, an updated audiology center, a redesigned main entrance, improved wheelchair access, new space for the school’s Work Study Program and upgraded administrative technology.


For more information about the Gala, contact Joel Skelton, Coordinator of Community Engagement at Willie Ross, at or (413) 304-2556. 


Willie Ross School for the Deaf provides a comprehensive educational program stressing academic excellence that focuses on the development of students’ intellectual, social, and emotional growth from the early childhood level through high school. Willie Ross serves students at its main campus in Longmeadow and at its partnership campus located in the East Longmeadow Public Schools. Mainstreaming opportunities are provided at the partnership campus.