On Saturday, April 14th, more than 340 Roncalli Catholic supporters braved an April snowstorm in order to attend the 29th Annual Festa del Leone.
The 2018 Festa del Leone marked the first year that the auction was conducted online via Bidpal, an online auction and fundraising platform. The night went on seamlessly as Bidpal and RCHS support staff fielded questions and concerns, helping people to place bids on items and donate money.
One major benefit of using Bidpal and an online platform was that RCHS supporters not in attendance could still participate in the excitement of the auction. There were RCHS supporters bidding on items all the way from Las Vegas!
To begin the night, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer (Class of 1990) welcomed guests as the Master of Ceremonies. Most Reverend Archbishop George Lucas gave an invocation, and then a gourmet dinner was provided by Abraham Catering.
After dinner, the Pope St. John XXXIII award was presented to Ellen and Bruce Karsk by President Ann O’Connor and President Emeritus Fr. Lloyd Gnirk. The Karsk family was nominated for championing and funding the Benilde Program at RCHS.
Ellen and Bruce Karsk are strong proponents of Catholic education and raising awareness of dyslexia and other learning differences. Ellen spent the majority of her career as a French teacher in Arizona. Bruce has been involved in a number of Catholic initiatives including serving on the Omaha Archdiocesan Educational Foundation (OAEF). He currently sits on the Board of Education for the Kildonan School in New York. Their son, John Joseph Karsk, graduated from Roncalli Catholic in 2016. The Karsk family are parishioners at St. Margaret Mary church.
The philosophy of the nationally recognized Benilde Program is that students attend the same classes, participate in the same clubs and extra-curricular activities and meet the same requirements as their peers. To help them succeed, the Benilde instructor (Mrs. Critchfield) will promote academic and self-advocacy skills, which will increase the probability of success. The ultimate goal of the Benilde Program is to teach each student how they best learn so that they are successful in college and beyond. Very few Catholic High Schools have these programs available, so it is an incredibly special addition to core offerings at RCHS.
THANK YOU TO OUR MAJOR SPONSORS OF FESTA DEL LEONE