Fiesta! In Spanish regions, this word references the celebration of a religious event. It seems fitting that the theme for this year’s Gold Rush at Aquinas and St. Mary’s Catholic Schools was Fiesta!
The evening was a celebration of the long-time Catholic tradition of the schools and allowed the community to come together to raise funds to further the mission of the schools. Once again, more than 500 guests gathered for mass, a silent auction, dinner and live auction during the April gathering. More than 100 volunteers help to set up, run and clean up for this event. More than 500 donations were received and allowed guests to bid on a variety of items.
The live auction was conducted by the Moravec Family. The meal once again featured prime rib donated by NaturAll Steaks, prepared by C-K Katering and was served by students of Aquinas Middle and High School. Revenue for the evening topped $283,000. Once bills are paid, the schools will benefit from the profits acquired through Gold Rush.
“The evening isn’t just a fundraiser. It’s a friend raiser as well, said Deb Svec, assistant director of advancement/alumni director. “The community really bands together and supports this annual event.” She went on to say, “It has become a family event with alumni of the schools coming back with their spouses to join their parents to support their alma mater. They all get a table together and have a great time.”
In January, tickets went on sale for the Annual Bus Raffle to benefit the bus system at the schools. The winners were drawn the night of Gold Rush. Those winners were: $5,000 to Arthur Augustin, $2,500 to Todd Hilfiker, $1,000 to Alice Kobza, $1,000 to Harriet Jakub and $500 to Dan Engel Sr.
Chief Administrative Officer Fr. Sean Timmerman remarked: “Our Aquinas-St. Mary’s Catholic School community is so blessed with amazing support from our people. We are grateful to God for their generosity and love of Catholic school education.”
At the end of the evening a “blue sky auction” was held where a specific need was presented and donors had a chance to contribute to that need. This year’s need is for new roofs at both Aquinas and St. Mary’s. The theme for next year’s event was announced during the night and it will be “A Tribute to the American Farmer."