Portland, OR. Best-selling author and parenting expert Julie Lythcott-Haims captivated the audience at the Portland Hilton as the keynote speaker of St. Mary’s Academy’s 23rd annual Food for Thought Luncheon benefiting financial aid. Guests at the November 15th benefit included Virginia Mathews, Molly Mathews Bjorklund ’85, Marilyn Fink, St. Mary’s Academy Board Member Tom Fink. Speaking to over 750 supporters of the school, Lythcott-Haims was one of the many highlights of the event, which raised over $500,000. (Photo credit, Andie Petkus)

Food for Thought Co-Chair Sara Salvi '71, St. Mary's Academy Principal Kelli Clark, St. Mary's Academy President Christina Friedhoff, keynote speaker Julie Lythcott-Haims, student speaker Daae An '17, St. Mary's Academy Board Chair Kent Roberts

Food for Thought Co-Chair Sara Salvi ’71, St. Mary’s Academy Principal Kelli Clark, St. Mary’s Academy President Christina Friedhoff, keynote speaker Julie Lythcott-Haims, student speaker Daae An ’17, and St. Mary’s Academy Board Chair Kent Roberts

St. Mary's Academy Board Chair Kent Roberts with Sara Roberts, Sally Roberts '08 and friends

St. Mary’s Academy Board Chair Kent Roberts with Sara Roberts, Sally Roberts ’08 and their friends.

Max Williams, Gina Williams, Monica McQueen, and St. Mary's Academy Board Member Kimberly Cooper

Max Williams, Gina Williams, Monica McQueen, and St. Mary’s Academy Board Member Kimberly Cooper.

Table host Suzann Baricevic Murphy '83 and friends

Table host Suzann Baricevic Murphy ’83 and friends.

Attendees also heard from St. Mary’s Academy President, Christina Friedhoff, who talked about the importance of the event in allowing the school to carry out its mission to provide an outstanding, all-female, Catholic, college-preparatory education to young women of many backgrounds. Food for Thought is the school’s largest fundraiser in support of tuition assistance. For the 2016-17 school year, over 40% of St. Mary’s Academy families will receive over $1.8 million in tuition assistance.

KATU News anchor Debora Knapp emceed the event, which included testimonials from SMA alumna and longtime teacher and coach at the school, Sara Salvi, who co-chaired this year’s event with fellow class of 1971 graduate, businesswoman Teri Nowak. St. Mary’s students shone brightly, with a dazzling performance by the nationally acclaimed St. Mary’s Marian Singers and a special message from St. Mary’s senior, Daae An, who talked about the vast opportunities open to her because of tuition assistance provided by the school.

“I think the real power of Food for Thought is hearing the stories of so many impressive women,” said St. Mary’s Academy Vice President of Development, Emily Niedermeyer Becker ’86, “These are stories that are both made possible by our incredible donors and compel our community to give so generously at Food for Thought.”

St. Mary’s Academy, founded in 1859 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, is Oregon’s oldest continually operating high school and its only all-girls school.

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