Rolling the Dice: Annual Casino Night Raises Funds for Lawrence Boys’ and Girls’ Club

Clad in blazers and dress suits, Jason DiNapoli ’19, Ryan Sedagat ’19, and Ryan Twomey ’19 sat down at a blackjack table in Lower Right of Paresky Commons during Casino Night. In a fearless moment, according to Sedagat, they decided to bet all their chips in on their last hand of cards. They drew their cards and realized that they were, unfortunately, in a losing position. Hope was not lost, however, as a sudden turn of events ultimately resulted in their miraculous win.

“We doubled our money, [and] we got the worst hand [of cards]. There was nothing we could do, since all our chips were in. The dealer had been on a roll, so we had figured we were done. So when the dealer [lost], we all went nuts. We were saved,” said Sedagat.

This incredible stroke of luck took place last Saturday night’s Mardi-Gras-themed Casino Night, which was hosted by West Quad South. The event cost five dollars to watch and ten dollars to participate in the various casino games — such as the money wheel, roulette, blackjack, poker, and the raffle — and included snacks, mocktails, and the iconic “photo op.”

“[Casino Night’s] important because it’s something to look forward to especially in Winter Term. [Winter Term] can be hard on a lot of kids here, especially if it’s your first year here and not really used to snow or the workload. Teachers expect a little more from you this term in relation to Fall Term. I think it’s a great de-stressor, and I’m glad that people enjoyed it. We got record turnout. We even had to create more chip cups. It was a really, really good night,” said Will Nuga ’17, co-president of West Quad South.

All proceeds raised from Casino Night will be donated to the Lawrence Boys’ and Girls’ Club, an organization dedicated to providing essential educational programming and other activities for young boys and girls from Lawrence.

“I feel [the Lawrence Boys’ and Girls’ Club] is important because, just this term, I’m in Mr. Bernieri’s ‘Writing For Change’ class, and we go to Lawrence every week. I thought it would be really cool if we could find a charity that’s really relevant to us especially knowing the kids like my good friends Ariana and Jake. I thought it would be really cool if we could give it to something relevant, so that we could feel like we’re helping people that are close to us but still live lives that are entirely different because of their backgrounds,” said Nuga.

To get students excited for the event, Alex Emerson ’17, co-president of Andover Moviemakers Club, along with the West Quad South Cluster Council, made a “hype” video. The video featured the council walking into Paresky Commons and upstairs into Paul’s Room. There, they sat down for a game of poker, betting oddball items like TV remotes and salt shakers. The video was posted on Facebook by Ekan Belo-Osagie ’19, a dorm representative of Taylor Hall.

“It’s a tradition. we’ve always made a video for Casino Night. For something big like Casino Night that’s not a dance, it’s really nice to have something there to hype people up beforehand to build the hype, so everybody comes in it with a good attitude. It makes it go over a lot better,” said Emerson.

One of the main events, the raffle, took place at the end of the event and featured a multitude of gift cards from local stores. Entries in the raffle were based off of which players had the most chips at 10:30 p.m.

“I thought that was cool how we were able to just ask local stores and shops to donate us gift cards because that’s an annual thing that stores are willing to do. We were able to get ten stores to do that. We were able to have a raffle because of that,” said Belo-Osagie.