by Carolyn Kaberline
Special to The Leaven
TOPEKA — It’s been said that a successful event always involves fun, fellowship and food. And those are exactly the ingredients found in the inaugural “Knight on the Town” signature event held recently to benefit Mater Dei School here.
In addition to providing an enjoyable evening, the event earned more than $39,000 for student scholarships.
“When we became one of the schools involved in the School Advancement Program, Michael and Patty Morrisey encouraged us to consider adding a signature event that would benefit student scholarships,” said Andrea Hillebert, Mater Dei principal, to help ensure the school’s sustainability.
“We needed to consider a way to raise funds that was not taxing on our parish or school families,” she continued. “We attended some different fundraising events and chose a format that would work best for us.
“We chose a ‘Knight on the Town’ because we are the Knights!”
In addition to bolstering the school’s sustainability, Hillebert said that using the money for scholarships would not only help school families but would resonate with sponsors and attendees as well.
The approximately 120 people in attendance at the event held at Iron Rail Brewing in downtown Topeka seemed to confirm that. The crowd was treated to a meal of heavy appetizers, including pulled pork, brisket, mac and cheese, fried pickles, veggies and brownies as they learned more about the school, its students, and its accomplishments.
“We knew we wanted to choose a downtown venue because we are located in downtown Topeka,” Hillebert said. “We chose the Iron Rail because it is a relatively new venue, and we thought a brewery would be a fun place to host our adults-only event.”
In addition to a 50-50 raffle which saw half of $9,420 going to Brian and Jessica Valdivia, tuition credit was also given to the top three ticket sellers. The kindergarten class also received a pizza party as the class selling the most tickets; the average ticket sale per student in kindergarten was $89.17.
With the inaugural event behind them, Hillebert said the school “will definitely host something like this again — our guests had a great time, and we will be able to help many families with the proceeds. We think it was a wonderful success, and we look forward to growing this event.”
Hillebert was also quick to give credit to all those involved in making the evening a success, especially the committee members who put in many long hours.
“Michael and Patty Morrisey guided our team, which was led by chairperson Paula Valdivia-Droge,” Hillebert said. “Her team included Kathy Clark, Erin Lee, Caitlin LaMarr, Shawn Hillebert, Darian Hillebert and Carlos Chavez.”
From the positive comments from those in attendance, it was quite obvious that a “Knight on the Town” had become a “Night to Remember.”