An Evening of Gratitude

By Lynda Millner   |   December 6, 2018
Mount Carmel event co-chairs Ruthann Morrison and Mary Pat Whitney on either side of principal Tracie Simolon, taken at the school

“Remember the past with gratitude. Live the present with enthusiasm. Look forward to the future with confidence.” – St. John Paul II

The family, friends, and alumni, 350 strong, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School gathered at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort for its 35th annual auction and dinner, “An evening of Gratitude.”

In the words of principal Tracie Simolon, “The events of last school year were unlike anything we could have imagined. However, out of the tragedy we saw the greater community stand together and lift up one another. This was reflected in our school community as well. Our strength of purpose and sense of family carried us through many trials. Our students learned lessons in compassion and resilience that cannot be learned from a textbook. The faculty and staff showed perseverance in the face of adversity and lived out their vocation to educate and support the whole child.”

KEYT reporter John Palminteri was the honoree. He is a dedicated parishioner and reporter. Among the many accolades is an Emmy Award in 2016 for KEYT News Channel 3’s coverage of the Refugio Oil Spill. And of course, for the coverage of the fire and debris flow.

Master of Ceremonies Gabe Saglie introduced his friend John. In fact, John introduced Gabe to his wife. After many glowing words, John joked, “You said everything I wrote for you.”

Revered John P. McGarry, S.J. with Maribel Jarchow and Father Lawrence Seyer at the Mount Carmel fundraiser
Group Teri Green, Andra MacLeod, Mary Pat Whitney, Audrey and Alan Nafsiger and Ron MacLeod and the Evening of Gratitude (photo by Mary Pat Whitney)
John Palminteri receiving his award from principal Tracie Simolon (photo by Mary Pat Whitney)

During the reception, there were many goodies to bid on including those made by various grades in school. Auctioneer Matt Chung ended the evening with a variety of live auction items such as a dinner for six with Father Lawrence in the rectory. Or you could cheer on the Los Angeles Kings when they play the Edmonton Oilers in January traveling in a luxury limo. How about a flight in a North American AT6 trainer plane? Will Kalbermatter will help you soar.

The co-chairs Ruthann Morrison and Mary Pat Whitney had us mingling amid lanterns entwined with roses and candles. Their hardworking committee was Michelle Damiani, Eric Lovette, Natalie Strahl, Maureen Wooten, Meredith Sodomka, Angela Lopopolo, Melinda Trembly, Angela Groeninger, Megan Hubbs, Tanya Masterson, Rachel Trautwein, Kim Lanford, Dianne Duva, Kasia Brand, Alia Porinsh, Karen Bell, Billy Mandarino, Kyla Rightmer, Virginia Persoon, Amy Zoltoski, Gloria Solano, Silvia Unzueta, Julie Castagnola, and Matt Whitney.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School exists to promote Catholic faith values with high academic standards integrated in a prayerful, student-centered community and family-centered environment. This event was their major fundraiser for the year to provide affordable tuition and scholarships for those in need. For information, call principal Tracie Simolon at (805) 969-5965.


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