Sacred Heart Boosters seek donations vs. in-person gala

This photo of students at Sacred Heart School wearing facemasks demonstrates one of the reasons the 20th Annual Sacred Heart Gala was turned into a non-event this year. Rather than hold an in-person event, due to COVIDS-19, people are asked to donate monetarily toward the cause of supporting the school. (Photo submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     This year was supposed to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sacred Heart School Gala. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the school’s booster club made the difficult decision to not host an in-person event. Instead, they are having a “non-gala event” and asking for monetary donations.

     “Although we won’t be able to gather together (in person), we still need and appreciate your support more than ever,” the booster club’s letter stated.

     Proceeds from the annual gala “allow Sacred Heart School to continue its tradition of providing students with a Christ-centered education, focused on rigorous academics, service to others, and faith-driven leadership.” The boosters have been able to offer scholarships for tuition assistance, purchase classroom supplies, and contribute to special purchases and projects.

     Sacred Heart Booster Club President Amanda Hackney said planning begins about a year in advance, so “many plans were already in place early this year for our 20th anniversary gala.”

     With several local events throughout the community cancelled earlier this year, the booster club made the decision in September to change the format of the gala.

     “Initially we planned to have an online auction,” shared Hackney, “but we received feedback that this process can be difficult to navigate so we decided to hold a non-event gala.”

     The boosters sent out letters explaining the new event this year, featuring an all-school photo of the Sacred Heart students wearing facemasks. The letter asked for donations in comparable amounts to what people may have spent or donated at past galas.

     “As in the past,” noted Hackney, “donations would be used to help the booster club meet the obligations and financial support it gives to Sacred Heart School.”

     Donations can be made by contacting the school office at 319-465-4605 or mailed to the school at 234 N. Sycamore St., Monticello, IA 52310.

     Hackney said canceling this year’s gala was a difficult decision and a financial challenge for the booster club to meet the operating commitments provided to the school.

     “Canceling also meant missing out,” added Hackney. “The Holiday Gala is such a special and fun event. It’s a night out in a festive holiday-themed setting that includes a social hour and a catered, seated four-course meal.

     “Hundreds of items are featured on the silent auction, and the live auction also brings out the best with lively and good-hearted competition,” continued Hackney. “So the biggest disappointment is missing out on the opportunity to celebrate with everyone who, year after year, supports, plans, and looks forward to this event.”

     The booster club acknowledges the huge outpouring of community support by the school’s families, the parishioners, and the Monticello community as a whole.

     Since announcing a change to this year’s gala, Hackney said the response has been overwhelming thus far.

     “We have received many wonderful, generous donations,” she praised.

     Each week, the donors are listed in the school newsletter and parish bulletin. The names are also posted on the school and church Facebook page.

     The booster club is already planning for the 2021 gala with a new theme and new activities.

     “We hope – and pray – that the COVID-19 challenge will be resolved and we have set the date for an in-house celebration on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021,” offered Hackney. “We welcome all to plan to attend and celebrate with us.”


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