Back to the Ranch event raises more than $250,000

By Maureen Andrews     11/20/2018

The Santa Margarita Catholic High School community paid homage to its roots on Sept. 29 as a crowd of 545 guests descended upon the campus for the school’s Blue and Gold annual fundraiser, “Back at the Ranch.” The event’s casual, western theme was a nod to the way it once was back in 1987 when the school first opened its gates in rural Rancho Santa Margarita. The gala raised $267,306, of which $150,200 will be applied toward tuition assistance.   

The cocktail reception began in the Strader Grotto, with guests bidding on a wide array of silent auction items. The pre-dinner gathering also included Hidden Treasures and a Gorjana jewelry draw – each providing surprise gifts for the lucky purchasers. In addition, the “Back at the Ranch” opportunity drawing produced a winner among those who purchased the specialty champagne flutes. Once guests moved into the Moiso Family Pavilion for dinner, they were greeted by a gymnasium transformed into an elegantly appointed ballroom-meets-country-western dance hall, and enjoyed country western tunes from the Kelly Rae Band throughout the evening. Guests dined on a gourmet three-course meal prepared by the
school’s in-house catering services, Chef Azmin Ghahreman and Sapphire

Student talent was showcased during the evening, beginning with the school’s string quartet and steel drum band welcoming guests as they arrived, followed by a song and dance routine featuring the choir, and Talon Theatre students performing to “Farmer and the Cowman” from the classic musical, “Oklahoma.” 

“Tonight is all about opportunity,” said President Andy Sulick as he welcomed guests. “The opportunity to create and rekindle relationships, the opportunity to assist in the school’s ongoing efforts to enhance all that happens on this amazing campus, and the opportunity to have fun and dance the night away!”  

The new pastor of San Francisco Solano Catholic Church, Reverend Duy Le, led the community in grace, and Principal Ray Dunne offered closing remarks on behalf of the school administration, thanking the Santa Margarita community for its support. In addition to members of the school’s past and present school community, representatives from Santa Margarita’s diocesan partner schools and diocesan leaders including Dr. Erin Barisano, superintendent of schools; Sally Todd, associate superintendent; and Hank Evers, interim director of strategic communications, were in attendance.  

Senior Director of Advancement Laurie Beach conveyed her appreciation to the sold-out crowd, thanking them for blessing the school with their support. Beach shared, “Tonight we will continue making great things happen for our students; you have left your footprints on our campus and contributed to making Santa Margarita Catholic High School a better place.”