A night to remember in support of our students!
Santa Margarita Catholic High School President Andy Sulick and Principal Ray Dunne welcomed 522 guests to campus on Saturday, Sept. 30 to celebrate the school’s 30th anniversary during the Blue and Gold 2017 gala. Sulick shared his enthusiasm for the evening that presented the opportunity to create new friendships and rekindle old ones formed since the school first opened its doors in September of 1987. Preliminary fundraising results show that approximately $257,500 was raised, which includes $130,850 for tuition assistance.
“We are here tonight because our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed this campus for more than 30 years and tonight we give thanks,” said Sulick, a member of the school’s charter class of 1991.
Sulick extended special thanks to the Blue and Gold committee, chaired by Santa Margarita parents Semra Nogueira and Alisha Fisher, both of Coto de Caza, who worked tirelessly in the months leading up to the event. The committee was responsible for transforming the school’s gymnasium, the Moiso Family Pavilion, into a magical and elegantly appointed ballroom. As the guests arrived, they received a special welcome by talented student performers, which included a steel drum band, string quartet and student vocalist Alec Melosini of Trabuco Canyon crooning Sinatra-era tunes.
Among the guests were current and alumni parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty, staff, friends from area Catholic schools and parishes as well as other Santa Margarita supporters. In addition, the school was honored to welcome back families from the school’s early years including stakeholders Susan and Dr. Burr McKeehan of Monarch Beach, Claudia and Randy Redwitz of San Juan Capistrano, Rosemary and Rand Sperry of Orange, Susan and Tim Strader of Newport Beach and Sherry and Dr. Richard Van Meter of Ladera Ranch.
“To see this amazing campus come to fruition has been such a blessing,” said Susan Strader, who along with her husband Tim attended the gala with their children Patrick Strader, a 1994 graduate of the school and his wife Dana, and their daughter Megan Meihaus, a 1997 graduate and her husband Brian who graduated from SMCHS in 1996. “It’s hard to believe it has been 30 years. Santa Margarita instilled the same values we as parents wanted our children to have. The opportunity for every student to explore their full potential continues to be at the heart of this school.”
Rev. Steve Sallot, the vicar general and moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Orange, offered his appreciation to the school.
“I want to thank you tonight for being such a great anchor of our faith here in South Orange County,” he said. “You are a great gift to our Church.”
The guests enjoyed a video capturing not only the KABC newscast aired on the day the school opened, but touching reflections by members of the SMCHS community.
“When your kids go to SM for four years, your whole family goes to SM,” alumni parent Ann Marie Jennison shared in the video expressing her gratitude for the lifelong friendships created on campus.
Santa Margarita Assistant Principal Tom Smith, who has worked at the school since 1987, knows first-hand the love Santa Margarita teachers have for their students.
“No one loves our students as much as their parents, but I can confidently say that in second place, it’s the teachers,” he said in the video.
Senior Director of Advancement Laurie Beach offered additional thanks that evening to all the guests.
“During the past 30 years . . . one constant has been the involvement of our parents and tonight is no different,” she said. “Your unwavering dedication to our students – that’s why we are here tonight.”
The guests enjoyed a three-course meal prepared by the school’s chef Azmin Ghahreman and Sapphire Catering, which included an heirloom tomato salad, pepper crusted beef tenderloin and café latte cheesecake.
The live auction included Katy Perry concert tickets, a Maui vacation, and Lakers’ courtside tickets among other items. The bidding became fierce over a 30-year anniversary tree to be planted on the campus, until President Sulick spontaneously intervened and awarded two trees to the highest bidders resulting in double the profits for the school with the trees going for $20,000 each. The fund-a-student portion of the live auction raised more than $130,000 for tuition assistance. Santa Margarita awards more than $1.8 million in tuition assistance annually. In a video, alumnus Grant Swonk ’16 conveyed his sincere appreciation for the assistance he received enabling him the gift of a Catholic education and shared that he one day looks forward to being in a position to give back and help a student with financial need.
Following the dinner and auctions, the guests danced to the tunes of Ben Mallare Acoustic Entertainment.
Blue and Gold Sponsors
Rancho Mission Viejo
Tony & Melinda Moiso
William Lyon Homes
Bill H. Lyon '92, Matt R. Zaist '92
Soaring Eagle Sponsors
Joe and Laura Muller Family & The Capital Group Companies
O'Connell Landscape Maintenance
Shulman Hodges & Bastian LLP
We Believe Sponsors
Audi Infiniti Volvo Mission Viejo
Diversified Thermal Services
Orange Catholic Foundation
Michael & Diana S. Ortiz
Susan & Tim Strader
Woodbridge Glass Inc.
The Siciliani Family