BEATRICE, ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph School in Beatrice is hosting its first ever “Sweetheart Gala” as a fundraiser for new bleachers for the school gymnasium. St. Joseph students pictured with teacher Sister Mary Ruth Jones are (front, from left) Madison Witulski, Morgan Burenheide, (seated at the desk) Evan Witulski, Ethan Broker, (standing) Reesa Wilcox, Kaya Vonburg, Ben Dugan and Sean Pinkerton. (SNR photo)
BEATRICE (SNR) - The Education Committee of St. Joseph School in Beatrice is hosting its first ever Sweetheart Gala as a fundraiser for new bleachers for the school gymnasium.
Scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13 in the parish center, the gala will feature a catered Windsor Loin dinner with cheesecake for dessert, complimentary wine, a cash bar and a live auction.
Susie Witulski and Laura Fossler, two mothers of St. Joseph students, are co-chairing the gala, in addition to their regular duties with fundraisers and Catholic Schools Week planning.
Mrs. Witulski said she thought of the gala as an alternative to the typical fundraisers that the students are asked to do to support the school. As in many other schools, St. Joseph students sell candles, magazines, specialty foods, etc.
“We’re trying to get away from door-to-door selling,” Mrs. Witulski explained.
Knowing that galas that feature catered meals and auctions have achieved great success for other schools, she and Mrs. Fossler planned their special evening to match. They are keeping it simple this year, but in the future, they hope to move the gala to a larger venue, where they will have room to add a silent auction and raffle.
Among the live auction items are a “staycation” at the local Holiday Inn with a meal provided by Valentino’s, a framed image of Mary holding the Christ Child, homemade blankets, jewelry and Husker memorabilia.
Mrs. Witulski said the annual gala could become a very important way to help keep St. Joseph school in top condition.
“Once we have the bleachers paid off,” she said, “we’ll keep upgrading and improving the school.”
Last year, the school gym’s floor was replaced. In the process, the old bleachers, which were “basically unsafe” were removed. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough money to install new bleachers at that time.
“They will cost over $10,000,” Mrs. Witulski said.
Since then, spectators at sporting events have brought in their own chairs to set along the sidelines. For the annual hauled chairs up two-and-a-half flights from the parish center to provide seating... and then hauled them two-and-a-half flights back down.
Gala tickets sold briskly. Some benefactors even purchased entire tables of tickets plus made $200 donations to become sponsors of the event.
Mrs. Witulski is expecting the gala to be a success.
“We’re excited,” she said. “We’re already planning for next year.”
Alumni and benefactors who wish to contribute to the bleacher fund may call St. Joseph School at (402) 223-5033.