Photo provided by The Runnels School --Celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Runnels School at a benefit gala held at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on Oct. 4 are, from left, Runnels alumnus Alden Cartwright, now a pitcher for the LSU Tigers, longtime preschool and elementary Principal Gladys Runnels, and Founding Headmaster Kelly Runnels, holding the commemorative Marucci bat signed by Paul Manieri that he received as a gift from the school.

The Runnels School celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding at a gala and fundraiser Oct. 4 at the Lod Cook Alumni Center.

More than 300 guests attended the event honoring the school and its founder, L.K. Runnels, and his wife, longtime preschool and elementary Principal Gladys Runnels. The Runnels Parents’ Organization sponsored the gala.

The event, which featured a silent auction and raffle drawing for a $10,000 backyard makeover, raised more than $30,000 to benefit the school’s plaza project, a plan to renovate outdoor space on the Harrells Ferry Road campus. The plaza will feature a multiuse pavilion, additional covered walkways, shaded seating areas and an amphitheater.

Another highlight of the evening was a video retrospective of the school’s history. Alumni, former students and the Runnelses shared memories of their days at Runnels School. Gov. Bobby Jindal, who attended Runnels when he was in elementary school, appeared on the video.

The evening also included a buffet, music and dancing.

Organizing the event were 50th Anniversary Committee chairwoman Sarah Haase, RPO President Nicole Duet Latiolais, RPO Treasurer Karen Rhinehart, Auction Committee Chairwoman Aprille Wright and 50th Anniversary Committee members Carol Barback, Chad Danos, Gina Golda, Molly Hightower, Wendy Holden-Parker, Neena Kelfstrom, Kristy Mayes, Joni Orgeron, Dana Schlotterer and Wendy Worsham.