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​Supporting Catholic school education through Hope for the Future

March 15, 2020 | posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio

Topics: Catholic Schools, Hope for the Future


Supporting Catholic school education through Hope for the Future

The 10th Annual Khaki and Plaid Royal Ball, “Once Upon a Time,” was an amazing gathering of Catholic school alumni and friends who came together at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center February 1 to support students and their families through Hope for the Future.

Hope is a ministry of the archdiocese and supports families in need who want their children to excel and grow spiritually in a faith-based learning environment. It provides need-based tuition assistance to families attending all 38 Catholic schools in the archdiocese.

Honorary chair for the event was Vikki Carr, Grammy Award winning recording artist who has been a longtime supporter of Catholic education, including holding many special events and concerts to benefit Holy Cross of San Antonio.

Executive chairs for the gala were Chris and Veronica Martinez, co-owners with Ernie Martinez of Central Electric who are parents of four children at Mount Sacred Heart Catholic School.

In his welcoming comments, Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, stressed to attendees that literally thousands of children have benefitted by the tuition assistance they have received because of the donors’ generosity. He said that although they may not always know the children personally, that he has the privilege of going out to Catholic schools many times and each year and that he meets these students and often their parents, too. “This tuition assistance makes all the difference in their lives!” the archbishop exclaimed.

He told of a young man, now a seventh grader in one of the Catholic schools, who is the son of a single mom in a depressed part of San Antonio. His grandmother is devoted to raising him right, and she makes every sacrifice she can for him. He was languishing in his local school. A bright and capable boy with the whole world in front of him — but with no opportunity to show the world what he could do. Frankly, he was bored, and the educational system was failing him. Through the tuition assistance of Hope for the Future, the commitment of his grandmother, and the support of a local pastor, Archbishop Gustavo said that this young man is an honor roll student now in a Catholic school, dreams of where he will go to high school and college, and serves every weekend at his parish.

“Being here tonight, supporting our members of the Court, and donating to Hope for the Future makes a concrete, real difference for our kids, our Church, and our city!” the archbishop continued.

He also discussed how he and Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette were just recently in Rome making their ad limina visit with Pope Francis. The Holy Father, he said, is devoted to youth and to developing the Church and society of the future.

Regarding education, the Holy Father has stated:“Education cannot be neutral. It is either positive or negative; either it enriches or it impoverishes; either it enables a person to grow or it lessens, even corrupts him. The mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful. If something is true, it is good and beautiful; if it is beautiful; it is good and true; if it is good, it is true and it is beautiful. And together, these elements enable us to grow and help us to love life, even when we are not well, even in the midst of many problems. True education enables us to love life and opens us to the fullness of life.”

Archbishop Gustavo added, “Your generosity enables truth, goodness, and beauty in our world! Your generosity changes lives! Your generosity changes the lives of kids who might otherwise end up on the streets, in gangs, trapped in dead-end jobs, and with a sense of despair about the future, into kids who are eager to embrace the future and change the world! Your participation is just that concrete!”

The San Antonio prelate offered special thanks to all attendees, all who have supported the members of the Royal Court this year, and especially members of the Court who said “yes” to putting themselves on the line for the good of kids throughout the archdiocese.

“You are shining examples of the truth, goodness, and beauty to which Pope Francis calls each of us,” he concluded. “And in the names of thousands of Catholic school kids I say, ‘thank you!’”

Randy Beamer, Emmy Award-winning anchor for News 4 San Antonio and Erin Nichols, a graduate of Providence High School who earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Incarnate Word and is the senior public information officer for the City of San Antonio Economic Development Department, were emcees for the event.

Silent auction items included a trip to Greece, a dinner for eight cooked by Bishop Boulette, an American Kennel Club registered Silver Lab puppy, a dove hunt for eight in Argentina, and a dinner with Archbishop Gustavo in the donor of the winning bidder.

Royal Homecoming Court nominees for the gala included:

-- Bequi Sierra: Alumna from Mount Sacred Heart School, Incarnate Word High School, and St. Mary’s University. She is a lead program/project manager at USAA, World Car Kia spokesperson, and a current parent at Mount Sacred Heart School and Central Catholic High School.

-- David Kauffman: Recording artist, filmmaker, and realtor. He attended Catholic schools from kindergarten through college, and is a graduate of St. Mary’s University.

-- Kathy Ornes: Attended Catholic schools in Tulsa, Okla., and taught in both public and Catholic high schools. She and her husband have been parishioners of St. Pius X Church for 34 years, and their sons attended St. Pius X School, Central Catholic High School, and later St. Mary’s University and St. Edward’s University in Austin. Kathy served on the School Board for several years at St. Pius X and helped establish the Guardian Angel Program there to help students with tuition assistance.

-- Mike Specia: Central Catholic High School alum and active parishioner at Blessed Sacrament Church who is a member of their ACTS community and Knights of Columbus. His son attended Central Catholic and his daughter attended Incarnate Word High School.

-- Imelda Guzman: St. Philip of Jesus School and St. Mary’s University graduate, where she obtained a BBA and a master’s degree in Human Resources. She served on the St. Mary’s Alumni Board for eight years where she chaired and co-chaired many fundraising events. In 2015 she had the honor of serving as the third female Oyster Bake chair. She is a parishioner of Mission San José, where she is a lector and volunteer. She is currently the vice president of Human Resources at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital.

-- Rick Galindo: Graduate of Central Catholic High School and St. Mary’s University. He currently serves on the School Council for the archdiocese and chairs the marketing/communications sub-committee. He currently works in the Chief Risk Office for USAA and is a former Texas state representative. He is also a St. Luke School parent.

-- Dr. Kristina Vidaurri: Principal at St. Anthony Catholic High School and a parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Selma, where she has been a religious education teacher, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, ACTS team member, and volunteer.

-- Father Pat Guidon, OMI: Former president of Oblate School of Theology, rector of St. Anthony Seminary, and has served in ministry at Our Lady of Grace Church for decades.

Following a drum roll performed by the St. John Paul II Catholic School drum line, it was announced that the Mike Specia was king and Imelda Guzman the queen of the gala.

Attendees later enjoyed music and dancing from the “Oh So Good Band.”