The third annual Heritage Gala Benefit dinner for the St. Marys Catholic Elementary and Middle schools was held Saturday at The Red Fern in Fox Township. This year's theme was "A Pearl of Great Value." The sea-themed decor was provided from the collection of Margaret Kaul and arranged by Paul Schneider.
Students showcased their artistic talents for the sizable crowd in a variety of ways. Second graders sang the catchy "Oceans of Fun" and middle school students performed selections from their upcoming musical. Seventh grader Patrick Hoffman was announced as the winner of an essay contest reflecting on this year's Heritage Gala theme. Other seventh grade students read aloud excerpts from historically based short stories they worked on as part of the Artists in Residency program, and unveiled a mural they created depicting some of the characters in their stories, viewed above by Lindsey Straub. Seashell boxes made by fourth and fifth graders were on display and admired by many, including Fr. Daniel Wolfel.
At the event, teachers and administrators were acknowledged with hallmark awards for their years of service, beginning with Supervising Principal Mary Agnes Marshall, who will be retiring at the end of the school year after 46 years of service.
Other faculty also received recognition for their years of service. Shown above from left to right: Tia Meredith, 20 years; Marry Ann Rettger, 40 years; Marshall; and Jeanne Mulcahy, 35 years. Teri Smith, who was unable to be present, was honored for 30 years of service in the Catholic school system.
The Heritage Award is presented to an individual or individuals, living or deceased, who has made a substantial impact on Catholic education in St. Marys. This year's award honored all past and present pastors of St. Mary's, Sacred Heart and Queen of the World parishes due to their work in helping to establish and maintain a Catholic educational system in St. Marys.
School donors were also acknowledged at the event. Several area merchants donated several items reflecting the pearl theme, which were auctioned off to benefit the elementary and middle schools.