Welcome to the 2019 Gala Special Edition Buzz!
Thank You for Joining Us at Our Annual Gala!
Dear St. Ambrose Community,
On behalf of the gala committee, I would like to thank each and every one of our St. Ambrose School and Parish Families, and Knights of Columbus who contributed to the success of our gala! There were cash and goods donations, time and talent donations, manpower donations, and of course, and most importantly, prayers for the success of our gala. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who helped make it not only a financially successful event, but a night of fun and fellowship that further strengthened our sense of community.
I can tell you that God is indeed good, and was present in every moment of the planning; providing for every need and challenge throughout the process through the hands, feet, and hearts of the members of this community. Please allow me to direct the spotlight to a few of the key people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes and without whom this event would not have come to fruition. I am indebted to all of them. T hese amazing volunteers spent a great deal of their personal time investing in this event for the benefit of our school. I hope you will personally thank them for their sacrifices!
Mary Helou and Catherine Seangio served as my dream team! They were responsible for procuring a plethora of donations for our silent auction, assisting with catering bids, supporting me in harrowing moments of panic, and swooping in to watch my kids or make a donation basket so I could get other gala work done! Always there, always supportive, true friends.
Eileen Bliss is a superhero who stepped in to save the day by taking over the Silent Auction in the final weeks of preparation. She singlehandedly set up the auction displays and bid sheets, trained data entry, contributed to the program, and a million other details! She is an extraordinary asset to our school.
Kay Carlson is a wonder woman when it comes to art and design. She is responsible for the gorgeous design, decorations, and centerpieces that adorned the gym and transformed it into a beautiful, formal affair! I'm grateful for her patience, flexibility, and warm spirit.
Nina Wieczorek is responsible for the super cool balloon arches and columns that added grand flare to the gym. She worked for several hours, headphones on, meticulously twisting until our grand arch was done!
Phil Coady managed the beverage ordering, licenses, pick-up, and delivery. He also provided invaluable moral support and knowledge, as well as amazing clean up support! Phil is always ready to roll up his sleeves and get a job done well, and always with a smile.
Mark & Emily English and Nichole Priddy added the art and pizazz to all of our posters, photo strip, program, slide shows and other advertisements. They brought life to our theme with a professional touch!
Rosie McGuire and Donna Vasilakos assisted with publications in the Buzz and the parish bulletin to promote the event and keep everyone informed of the details. Joe Dao produced the awesome slideshow of our students, highlighting the reason why we do all of this!
Rachel Kramer efficiently managed the ticket sales; advertising, recruiting volunteers for stuffing bulletins, ticket sales after masses, and inputting into the software.
Kathleen Leffas and Kenya Jenkins - God Bless these wonderful ladies who worked hard during the gala! Kathleen did a fabulous job as our amiable Emcee for the evening; and Kenya stayed on top of recording all the live auction and Fund a Need bids as they flew across the crowd!
Trish Konczal managed the Let the Good Times Roll week, provided all around administrative support, and shared past gala-planning experience. She graciously allowed me to use her office as "gala central!"
Kate O'Connor and Lexx Greshock provided technology support with laptops, microphones, and smart board know-how so everything ran smoothly.
Joyce Lai was instrumental in procuring several donations for the silent auction, as well as generously providing food donations from three of her family's restaurants that we had the pleasure to enjoy at the gala.
Jen Charest managed the 50/50 Raffle advertisement and collections and Julia Hecton managed the Dessert Auction donations. The Hecton Family also generously donated all of the delightful appetizers for the gala!
Ida Smith is a certified angel and the biggest cheerleader for our school. She sat by her husband's bedside in the hospital and hand cut over 200 masks for our students to decorate, and also hand cut adorable jesters for decoration.
Mallery Holleran invested a great deal of her personal time, after busy days at school, to put together our lovely, organized Giving Tree!
Sarah Moran made room in her busy teaching schedule to assist the students with mask decorating and first grader self-portrait tiles. She also was a magnificent sounding board and helped with many behind the scenes projects.
Heather Terreri and Michele Robbins are past gala chairs and understand the numerous details that to into the preparations. Heather donated and delivered the printing of our table signs and Michele laundered our tablecloths herself so they would be wrinkle free for the event.
An Cao provided his own equipment and hooked us up with some fabulous music during the festivities. An got the crowd really going on the dance floor!
Chris Embert assisted with obtaining manpower volunteers to move the tables and chairs from the parish center to the gym and back, and took charge of pick up and return of the moving truck.
Carla, Bill, and Will Yaglou transported tables from the Byzantine church and back for our silent auction, supplied one of our most lucrative live auction items, and provided tremendous moral support.
Chris and Susan Rasmus, of Rasmus Auctions kindly donated their services for our event. Their knowledge, skills, humor, and generosity are a true blessing to our school!
I would like to thank Mrs. Rowley, Fr. Fisher, and Fr. Hayes for providing moral support, prayers, and assistance with managing the numerous and necessary facility details to make this event a success.
There are many more hands that reached out to help for which I am so very grateful; but I cannot end without saying a most special thank you to my family. My husband Kevin Driscoll, and my two boys, Jonah and Cooper, were incredibly patient, supportive, and helpful for the past seven months of planning. Kevin helped to hold up my end of the parenting responsibilities, ran errands for the gala, helped with the moving truck, tables, and chairs, did data entry at the gala, and held my hand through all of the challenges. My hero!
  • We raised $46,808.73 from ticket sales, raffles, auctions, masks, and tiles. Add on the $4343.36 from our earlier gala fundraiser with Mixed Bag Designs, and the total comes to $51,152.09! Way to go St. Ambrose Community!!!!
  • Want a snapshot of the fun? Go to https://funphotosva.smugmug.com/St-Ambrose-Mardi-Gras-Gala/ to view our Photo Booth pictures!
  • Winner of the 50/50 Raffle: Regina Thomas won $1,612.50
  • Winner for selling the most raffle tickets: The Robbins Family won Ultrazone passes
  • Winner of the Inn at Little Washington Raffle: Mrs. Healy
  • Winner of the Ultimate Date Night: Bianca and Matthew Graviss
After months of planning, it was extremely gratifying to see everyone enjoying themselves at the gala! There were some great bidding wars that ensued and our wonderful auctioneer made the Live Auction a really fun time! My hope is that even more school families will attend next year; it really is a fantastic experience.
It's not too early to start thinking of next year...who's ready to take the plunge as gala chair?!

God Bless,
Sharon Driscoll
2019 Gala Chair
Some Amazing Pictures from the Gala

(Click on images to enlarge)
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