Portland, OR. St. Mary’s Academy raised $500,000 during its 27th annual Food for Thought fundraiser. Due to COVID-19, this is the first time the fundraiser has gone virtual in order to help support financial aid access for its students. More than 800 guests from across the globe joined the event to listen to a range of topics from motivation in the pursuit of one’s passions, to becoming a leader, to always staying true to yourself and the importance of giving back.
The featured guest of the event, Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer for American Ballet Theatre, shared her story and answered questions in a conversation with St. Mary’s senior, Kyra Bonta, current St. Mary’s dance instructor, Jessica Zoller, and St. Mary’s alumna, Jenny White.
Misty Copeland the featured guest of the event says, “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful, and believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”
This school year, St. Mary’s will provide over $2 million in financial aid to 42% of families. The fundraiser, Food for Thought, has allowed St. Mary’s to provide a college-preparatory education to any young woman who desires it, regardless of financial circumstances.
Maya DaSilva, a current junior at St. Mary’s, also spoke at the fundraiser about why she loves the school and why tuition assistance is important. “The SMA community believes there is inherent value in young women. That their thoughts, voices, and ideas are worthy. That they are necessary in the workplace and that each brings extraordinary skills and assets to various forms of leading, serving, creating, discovering.”
Maya DaSilva, current junior at St. Mary’s Academy spoke at the fundraiser in support of her school.
St. Mary’s Academy is Oregon state’s oldest continuously operating school and the only all-girls school that serves 680 young women. St. Mary’s has a 100% college acceptance rate where students achieve, excel, and are recognized locally, regionally, and nationally in academic fields, leadership, STEM, the arts, athletics, community service, and extra-and co-curricular activities.
Donations from the fundraiser will provide St. Mary’s students with:
$15,995 will sponsor a student’s tuition for one year
$8,000 will fund the average financial aid award for one student
$5,300 will cover the gap between tuition and the actual cost of education
$2,000 will fund a quarter of the average financial aid award for one student
$1,056 provides a fully equipped iPad for two students receiving financial aid
$528 provides a fully equipped iPad for one student receiving financial aid
$283 provides one dollar for each student receiving financial aid
The event was co-chaired by the women of the St. Mary’s Board of Directors. Board member, Kimberly Cooper, shares why she supports St. Mary’s. “Education is the great elevator – anyone who enters, rises up to new heights – and access to a world-class education for young women at St. Mary’s Academy helps propel them higher. They are our future, and when they rise, we all rise!”
From St. Mary’s Academy website: St. Mary’s Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary since 1859, is a Catholic high school for young women, providing a challenging college-preparatory education in a vibrant learning environment. Guided by the values and charism of the Sisters, St. Mary’s fosters a diverse community, educates the whole person by nurturing spirituality, encouraging creativity, promoting justice, and inspiring a sense of global interdependence to prepare students for service and leadership.
Portland, OR. Nearly 700 people attended the St. Mary’s Academy 26th Annual “Food for Thought” luncheon. Organizers surpassed their fundraising goal of $500,000 which will support tuition assistance. The event on November 7th was held at the downtown Portland Hilton and attendees included Kelley Morrison Ogle ’94, Margueritte Vu Kim ’94, Rita Serralta-Poox ’20, Barre3 co-founder Sadie Lincoln, Jessica Hickox Meyer ’94 and Karis Stoudamire-Phillips ’94. Vice President of Development, 1986 graduate Emily Niedermeyer Becker, thanked donors. “We are so proud to announce we exceeded our goal of $500,000. This event has remained of the utmost importance to SMA each year, as every dollar raised allows us to continue providing exceptional education to young girls who deserve it.” The Food for Thought luncheon is the school’s largest fundraiser in support of tuition assistance. For the 2019-2020 school year, 42% of St. Mary’s Academy families were awarded over $2 million in tuition assistance.
Sam Romanaggi, Kathleen Dooney Niedermeyer ’83, Dr. Don Romanaggi
Gene Kim and Margueritte Vu Kim ’94
The luncheon was organized by graduates of SMA’s 1994 class, including Karis-Stoudamire Phillips, Joan Chaney, Margueritte Vu Kim, Jessica Hickox Meyer, Kelley Morrison Ogle, and Dr. Nundhini Thukkani. Sadie Lincoln, the keynote speaker and co-founder of Barre3, shared her message about wellness and finding confidence. She weighed in on her own personal struggles with self-confidence at a young age. Lincoln credits Barre3 with allowing herself to spread the message of internal resiliency to members across her studios, located locally and worldwide. “We can have a practice of being empowered from within, being confident, and standing up for ourselves,” she explained.
Another guest speaker was St. Mary’s senior and financial award recipient, Rita Serralta-Poox. She thanked her parents for their sacrifices immigrating to the U.S. in hopes of a brighter future for their family. She also thanked St. Mary’s for an array of opportunities during her four years, and allowing her to become her true self through its community, “St. Mary’s has taught me how to use my voice and I will never forget that. After high school, I plan to study law to become an immigration lawyer,” she stated during her speech.
Mary Mathews Stevens ’80, Virginia Mathews, Marilyn Whitaker and Molly Mathews Bjorklund ’85
(Clockwise from back left) Kellie Chauncey-Lance ’87, Tifani Jones Parrilli ’82, Melissa Abraham Hartnell ’87, Holly Abraham Safranski ’92, Alyx Abraham, Sara Parker, Melinda Lee
For the second year in a row, St. Mary’s Academy produced and debuted a video at the event. It focused on St. Mary’s wellness programs including athletics. In the video, current students and alumnae shared personal experiences and stories of how St. Mary’s empowered them both on and off the field.
A video about St. Mary’s Academy:
From St. Mary’s Academy:
St. Mary’s Academy, sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary since 1859, is a Catholic high school for young women, providing a challenging college-preparatory education in a vibrant learning environment. Guided by the values and charism of the Sisters, St. Mary’s fosters a diverse community, educates the whole person by nurturing spirituality, encouraging creativity, promoting justice, and inspiring a sense of global interdependence to prepare students for service and leadership. For more information, here’s a link to the SMA website: St. Mary’s Academy.
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