Supporters of Lakewood Catholic Academy at its third annual All Saints Auction fundraiser were in good hands. The experiences of past years made the night a seamless one for the 340 guests. This year’s event was called a “Celebration of Spirit.” It was a chance to honor two local Catholic parishes that have supported Lakewood residents for 90 years.
The event began with a late-afternoon mass for benefactors. Afterward, they got an advance peek at the vast selection of silent auction items. The rest of the guests arrived shortly, and the social time was lively and spirited. In addition to the silent auction, the many items of which showed great creativity, guests purchased tickets for two raffles, a wine pull and the always exciting heads and tails game, which took place after dinner. Raffle tickets were limited to 200 for each item, creating an atmosphere of excitement with the good odds.
A hard-working committee transformed the school into a festive party center. Fabric-covered lockers in hallways and normally invisible alcoves became locations for bars and displays. Guests enjoyed looking at students’ work, especially art, which was arrayed on bulletin boards. It was a glimpse into the normal workings of the school. The gymnasium boasted the grandest transformation of all. A faux ceiling of fabric made the large space intimate. Theatrical lighting eliminated the “gym” feel. On the floor, instead of the expected round tables, rectangular tables were arranged into groupings with a large centerpiece for every cross-shaped cluster. A geometric pattern of colors formed the centerpieces. This “stained glass window” effect was also the logo for the event. Kudos to Julie Artbauer and the committee.
Catering was in the spirit of the area’s ethnic roots. Passed hors d’oeuvres were Irish salmon, mini stuffed cabbage rolls and “Cleveland kabobs” – pierogi and kielbasa with sauerkraut. Lakewood’s Gatherings Kitchen continued to honor the area at dinner with seasonal butternut squash, Miller’s sticky buns, Guinness-braised beef tips with spaetzle and Malley’s ice cream with apple kuchen.
Lakewood Catholic Academy is an amazing success story of a grade school that serves a cluster of local parishes. The school has thrived because of the way it was created, in the “neutral territory” of the former St. Augustine Academy on Lake Avenue. Strong visionary leadership and quality teaching have prepared the young students for high school and higher education.
At this year’s All Saints Auction, the school honored the 90 years of service by the St. Luke and St. Clement parishes. Both in Lakewood, the parishes assisted with the founding of Lakewood Catholic Academy in 2005.
Guests at the Celebration of Spirit event were diverse. The supporters included board members, school staff, young parents of students and some grandparents, too. Following dinner, all of the guests got to “fund a need” by making pure contributions to the school’s food service. They raised paddles for “It’s Not Your Mother’s Kitchen Anymore.” Guests also bid on select live auction items. By the time the night ended, they raised about $100,000 for the school.