Despite the disruption and hate-filled words of a Zoom-bomber, last week’s Virtual Grand Gala finale proved to be a real success for Prep students and families who rely on financial aid.

Although the initial virtual session was interrupted, an even larger group of participants quickly reconvened in a new session. Ms. Dalma Santana, Prep’s Director of Special Events, welcomed participants to the new gathering, noting, “I know that at Prep, the comeback is always stronger than the setback.”

The remainder of the evening underscored that point, as neither the move to a virtual event due to the COVID-19 pandemic nor the attempt to disrupt the finale could stop the celebration of Prep Pride.

Here are some quick facts and figures through last Thursday night:

  • 424 supporters of the auction and Fund-a-Scholar
  • Over 1000 bids on the amazing items in the live and silent auction
  • Over $60,000 raised in auction proceeds 
  • $171,188 in direct Fund-a-Scholar donations on Gala night, exceeding our minimum goal by over $20,000…this figure grew by more than $10,000 thanks to additional donations over the weekend.

All told, the 2020 Grand Gala raised over $254,000 for financial aid at Prep, bringing the $800,000 Sheehan Challenge goal that much closer. And, of course, the net impact is magnified by the reduced cost of hosting a virtual event.

In the end, the generous support of the Prep family is a reflection of kindness and genuine care for one another—core values a Jesuit school aims to impart, and core values that make the Jesuit school experience accessible to students even in a time of increased financial distress for many families.

Tyler Greene, ’20, our student speaker, stated it best: 

After all, kindness is what got me to Prep in the first place.  Financial aid does not fall from the sky. The financial aid I received came from people like you, donors to Prep—patrons for education, people who cared enough about a stranger to afford them this incredible experience. This generosity, “to give and not to count the cost,” essentially came from a place or a humble beginning of kindness.

Tyler Greene, ’20

Prep is grateful to all the event co-chairs, auction donors, bidders, and Fund-a-Scholar supporters who made the Virtual Gala possible!

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