MONTVILLE, NJ – The Class of 2016 at Montville Township High School (MTHS) held the third annual American Girl Doll Café fundraiser on Saturday, Feb 21.

Attendance at the special outing for girls, dolls, moms, and grandmas has steadily grown since 2013. Last year 140 girls and dolls enjoyed the luncheon. This year that number exceeded 165. In addition, a record 141 adults were served.

“The lunch served by the junior class is delicious, and the craft project is always fun and creative,” said Sheila Gudis, M.S., C.C.C/SLP Speech Pathologist in Montville Township Public Schools.

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The February outing marks the second year Gudis’ daughter, Allison Gudis Jackson, seven-year-old granddaughter, Ava Jackson, and Ava’s American Girl Doll, traveled from Greenwich CT to Montville, NJ to enjoy “this special day,” Gudis said.

Like many girls who attend, Ava, who is in second grade, plans to bring her Mimi [Gudis], mom and doll again next year.

"I like spending time with my family there,” Ava said. ”I like the craft, and it’s fun to see all the girls with their dolls. It’s a special day for me to be with my Mimi and I like sitting next to my doll at lunch. She has a seat made just for her!"

“All the girls really like that the dolls have their own seats and are served their own food,” noted Gudis. “It’s really cute.”

This spring, to meet the growing demand, the Class of 2016 added a fourth seating. Despite the extra space, the event was once again sold out.

The seven-hour day was manned by seventy volunteers from the junior class and, the MTHS service organization, REACH. Parents and students provided the desserts.

The goal for this year’s American Girl Doll Café was $4,000. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the day, a record breaking $6,000 was raised.

“This year’s event was a great success,” said Class of 2016 Advisor, Dana Bertoli. “Thank you to everyone who attended! The junior class did a great job of preparing for it. We look forward to doing the event again next year.”

The Class of 2016 is already planning for their fourth and final America Girl Doll Café, and Gudis and her family are looking forward to it.

“Ava loves the American Girl Dolls, their books and learning about their heritage, their hobbies, personalities and interests,” Gudis said. “The American Girl Doll, Isabelle, inspired her to take ballet more seriously.”

Proceeds from the benefit will be used to help fund the Class of 2016’s senior prom, breakfast, and banquet.