On Saturday, April 5, one of Erie’s biggest fundraisers, the Legacy Gala, took place. The Legacy Gala is held by Prep and Villa to raise money for the school for scholarships, updates on the school, balancing the budget, and for the benefit of all the students. However, it is mainly to honor two outstanding people from the two schools’ history.
The honorees of the night were Prep alumni Jack Bertges (’68) and Matt Minnaugh (’83) and Villa alumni Sr. Mary Drexler and distinguished faculty member Adrianna Hagerty (posthumous). All four of these people have made an incredible impact in Cathedral Prep and Villa history and their own history.
The night started very well. As the guests walked in the doors, they were greeted by the student ambassadors only then to see the brand new blue prints on the upgrade to the Cathedral Prep Events Center (CPEC) and the Prep library renovations. All people seemed to be very impressed by the basketball court and swimming pools. In addition the library will now have two group study areas and a computer lab, and the books from the old library are being donated to Sudan as part of a project by Albert Oduho (’03).
As people proceeded into the giant room filled with amazing decorations, delicious food, and fantastic auction items, they realized that this was going to be a good night no matter what. Even if you had to fight a few mothers to win the front row for baccalaureate or the Prep parking lot spot in the teacher lot. A few items in the silent auction that were won that everyone seemed to want were as follows:
- Front Row Baccalaureate Seats: The Bretz Family
- Teachers Parking Lot Spot: The Chase Family
- Prep Lockers: The Traegaser Family
- Prep Corn Hole Set: The Scutella Family
- The Lawn Mower: Mrs. Kim
- Cooking Classes with Cirillo: Frank Mezler (Learning how to make Raviolis)
However, this wasn’t even the biggest event of the night. There was still the live auction, which was needless to say eventful and the time to donate money specifically to the scholarship foundation. These two events are the biggest fundraisers for the event. During the live auction there was plenty of excitement, shock, and back-and-forth bidding for the priceless items in store for the night. The always anticipated item is the “Master’s tickets,” which broke a new record for the highest final selling price. Mr. Minnaugh and Mr. Britton were going back and forth constantly trying to beat the other out, but in the end Mr. Minnaugh wound up victorious. The next item to go were the soccer tickets to see Man. City vs AC Milan in Pittsburgh. The normal value price was $6,000 dollars. However, the Hilbert family had the steal of the night taking home the tickets for exactly $2,000. Here are a few other items that were up for auction and their winners:
- Tickets to the Masters: Mark Minnaugh (New Record Buy: $9,000)
- Tickets to The Man. City vs. AC Milan game: The Hilbert Family
- Grad Party at the CPEC: The Dill Family
- Front Row Graduation Seats: Britton, Mezler, Hilbert Families
- Library Table: The Miller Family
Now as part of the night there is the annual scholarship fund donation. This is where anyone can donate in increments of $500 to the fund to help the school. Before the donating even began, the fund already had $37,500 in it from alumni not present at the event but who love their alma mater. By the last $500 donation no one had any idea how much money was donated, but it turns out that the request Mr. Hagerty hoped for was accomplished with a total of $86,000. That right there is true Prep-Villa faith, giving back to the school that built their futures.
As the night came to a close there was no doubt every person enjoyed their night. The night totaled an all new high as well on fundraising with a total of $361,000. However, this is all thanks to the Prep-Villa Advancement office and company, especially Kathy Grisier. Without her this fantastic night never would have happened. Sadly though after four great years of hosting the event she will be retiring, but she will surely be there again next year but bidding on all the best items because I’m sure she will have the inner scoop.
“Legacy Gala 2014 was a bittersweet night for me,” Grisier said. “This was the fourth time I ran this event for Prep and Villa, and since my son Kevin is a senior, I had made the decision to step down after this year’s Gala. Organizing Legacy Gala is one of the most exhausting things I have ever done, but when I walk into the room that evening and see how we have transformed a vast, empty space into a classy and beautiful party, it really makes me happy. I am honored to have had the opportunity to not only host this event, but to have worked with so many people, and to have raised funds that helped students have the ability to afford a Prep or Villa education. The theme for Legacy Gala this year was “Achieving Excellence”, and I can honestly say that with breaking some records this year…for attendance and dollars raised, that I can retire knowing that I achieved my own personal level of excellence.”