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The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

The student news site of La Salle Catholic College Preparatory.

The La Salle Falconer

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Believing and Bettering: A Look Into La Salle’s Benefit and Auction Dinner

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  • Table 10 all set prior to the beginning of dinner.

  • Junior Vance Sheffield standing in between tables, rehearsing his speech prior to the event.

  • The student choir rehearses their performance before dinner.

  • Student ambassador volunteers senior Violet Sheehan and sophomore Charlotte Robinson enthusiastically sell beads for the Heads or Tails game.

  • Guests enjoying their time during the silent auction and cocktail hour of the event.

  • Student ambassador volunteers and sophomores Harper Coleman and Molly McKinlay work to sell beads to guests, one for $25 and five of them for $100.

  • Tables being set in preparation for the dinner with white napkins, a black table cloth, and a flower centerpiece.

  • Seniors Ale Garcia and Grant Ellison give the welcome address at the beginning of the dinner.

  • Principal Ms. Alanna O’Brien leading prayer during dinner after the welcome address.

  • Guests are treated to a bottle of literal sparkling champagne for the table after successfully bidding on it.

  • Senior Isabella Sulloway Ferreras giving her speech in the crowd, reflecting on her connection with theater.

  • Junior Rylan De Souza gives his speech onstage and talks about his passions.

  • Guests participating in the Heads or Tails game during dinner.

  • The student speakers of the night (in order of appearance): senior Ale Garcia, senior Isabella Sulloway Ferreras, junior Rylan deSouza, junior Vance Sheffield, senior Grant Ellison, and senior Josephine Robinson.

  • Master of Ceremonies and KGW news anchor Pat Dooris alongside Mark Schenfeld, the auctioneer.

  • Guests bidding during the Dollars for Scholars paddle raise segment of the live auction.

  • Guests raising a glass during dinner.

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Every fall, the La Salle gym is lavishly transformed to host the biggest fundraiser event of the year: the Believe Benefit and Auction Dinner. This year, it took place on Saturday Oct. 14.

The goal of the Believe event was to raise $300,000 towards student scholarships, financial aid, and more activities within the community, such as academic programming. 

“Believe is really critical to [La Salle’s] mission on a lot of different levels, but primarily, being able to provide financial aid to literally hundreds of students,” said Vice President of Advancement & Communications Ms. Andrea Burns. “Every year more than $3 million dollars is distributed to over 60% of the student body.”

The event itself is funded by returning sponsors, and some new ones as well. “But at least half are returning. So, again, that’s something that we are really blessed with: people that continue to support year after year,” Ms. Burns said. “It’s really a testament to our community.”

More than 300 guests were present, which included a variety of parents and alumni alike. Guests could be seen wearing a range of outfits, from jeans and a sweater to cocktail dresses. This varied style of dress stems from the motto for the event: “denim to diamonds”, with the goal being to encourage those present to feel comfortable in their choice of clothing and wear what they want.

The evening began with a silent auction from 6:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. in the main hallway. During the auction, guests were treated to a cocktail hour and an accompaniment of hors d’oeuvres, leading to a lively atmosphere of conversation and drinks. While guests were enjoying themselves, they had the option to bid on several items. For example, a new item this year to be bid on was the “Women & Wine” event that women could sign up for to participate in the spring.

Student ambassador volunteers could be seen throughout the silent auction, offering beads to guests. These beads acted as a priced ticket allowing them to take part in a game of Heads or Tails at dinner, the winner of which would go home with a prize.

At 7:00, the main hallway emptied out and guests gradually shifted to the gym for the remainder of the evening. Dinner began with a performance done by the student choir. “That’s a highlight of the event — for them to perform and for our guests to be able to, kind of, have that experience with our students,” Ms. Burns said.

The performance was followed with a welcome address by seniors Grant Ellison and Ale Garcia, and a prayer by Principal Ms. Alanna O’Brien.

Afterwards, as guests were enjoying their dinner, four student speakers reflected on their time at La Salle, providing insight and words of appreciation towards the money being donated. “The idea is that those four students are really representing the larger student body,” Ms. Burns said. “So we’re looking for a mix of different grade levels, and gender, and then the different things they might be involved in,” she said. The student speakers for the night were junior Rylan deSouza, senior Josephine Robinson, junior Vance Sheffield, and senior Isabella Sulloway Ferreras.

For the remainder of the night, the auction and dinner was directed by the Master of Ceremonies and KGW news anchor Pat Dooris, and the Auctioneer, Mark Schenfeld, from Stokes Auction Group. Schenfeld conducted the live auction which included many offers, like a week trip to Wanderers Cove in Lincoln, Nebraska, at an oceanfront home and a relaxing time at River’s Edge Retreat on Sandy River.

Lastly, a fundamental part of the event was the Dollars for Scholars fundraising. This segment of the dinner was a paddle raise in support of tuition assistance and scholarships. 

Ms. Burns expressed the beauty of Believe and how donors are so hospitable when it comes to donating. “It’s always amazing to me — I’ve done this for a number of years — how much money our community raises in such a short time, particularly with the Dollars for Scholars paddle raise,” she said. “Over half of the funds are raised just in that, you know, 15 minutes alone.”

All in all, the goal for the Dollars for Scholars fundraiser was met and exceeded, with more than $200,000 contributed. In addition, more than $30,000 was donated to revitalize the school cafeteria.

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