ABOUT OUR HONOREE KAREN ROBARDS
Join us as we honor Karen Robards (founding parent, committed supporter, and chair emerita) for her transformative years of service and leadership.
Cooke’s story begins in 1987 with the founding parents who longed for a school that would embrace their children’s strengths, nurture their curiosity and help them learn to live as independently as possible. Karen (and her husband Tom) joined other founding parents to envision such a school—and worked tirelessly to make it a reality. Karen was instrumental in building a network of parents, educators, and community partners to create a school based on a vision of inclusion grounded in special education best practices.
Special education as we know it today—and the ideals of inclusion that have grown and developed since Cooke’s founding—didn’t exist; there was no roadmap for creating a school like Cooke in 1987. Karen was a driving force and played a foundational role in translating her sons’ needs into a viable, thriving educational model. Karen spearheaded many critical fundraising initiatives to support Cooke’s mission-driven policies. Our need-blind admission policy, school building construction and renovation projects and the promotion of inclusive education best practices are a few.
In addition to her influential role as a founding parent, Karen has worn many hats and offered many forms of support; She has been called a Cooke “angel,” “benefactor,” a member of the “leadership circle,” President, and now Chair Emerita of the board. (We cannot forget Thomas Robards’ support as well.)
Her support is woven into the fabric of every important development and mission-driven achievement Cooke has ever had. Like gold thread, her foresight and organizational leadership, commitment to inclusion and diversity, dedicated fundraising and generous support have been woven into the tapestry of diverse families that make up our special Cooke community.
ABOUT FOOD FOR THOUGHT
We are excited to be back together again for this cherished tradition! Food For Thought is a special evening that celebrates Cooke’s legacy of excellence in education.
This year’s gala will benefit phase two of Cooke’s Building Futures campaign—the expansion of our Transitions and Alumni programming. To provide these essential services and help our young adult students (past and present) thrive, Cooke will renovate our SoHo location to accommodate an expansion of programming.
Highlights of the evening will include:
• A delicious tasting menu of delectable cuisine will be presented by some of New York City’s most celebrated chefs (Cooke students will serve as sous chefs for the night)
• Guests will enjoy a top-shelf open bar
• Cooke updates and program highlights, and a lively pledge drive. We welcome our guests enthusiastic participation!
• All friends of Cooke (ages 21+) are invited to network, socialize and enjoy
We look forward to seeing you!
[CLICK ON RESTAURANT/CHEF FOR MORE DETAILS]
BARBUTO • Heather Miller and Ty Johnson
BOULUD SUD • Christina D’Angelo
BROOKLYN ROASTING COMPANY • Michael Pollack
CHARLIE PALMER STEAK • Erick Vargas Bromberg
CONTENTO • Oscar Lorenzzi
FIRST COURSE NYC • David Waltuck
FRENCHETTE • Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson
HUERTAS • Jonah Miller
INVICTUS BAKERY • Alison Berkley and Molly Sebastian
L’AMICO • Laurent Tourondel and Emilie Bousquet
MELBA’S • Melba Wilson
NOBU FIFTY SEVEN • Taku Sato
NOWON • Jae Lee
OCEANA • Tim Jocz
PIER SIXTY COLLECTION • Matt Tiscornia
SPARE TONIC • Adam Kaye
TAVERNA DI BACCO • Maurizio Crescenzo
THE MUSKET ROOM • Mary Attea
THE PRESS CLUB GRILL • Franklin Becker
VIC’S • Philip Lorelle
LE CROCODILE • Jake Leiber and Leanne Tran
WOLDY KUSINA at HUNGRY HOUSE • Woldy Reyes
Karen and David Waltuck