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Creating Opportunities: Transforming Lives Dinner 2019

Nearly 300 guests attended and raised their paddles high at the seventh annual Transforming Lives Dinner held November 7. This year, thanks to generous supporters, O’Dowd raised more than $460,000 for tuition assistance. This generosity helps O’Dowd provide $3.5 million in tuition assistance to 30% of families each year, supporting transformative learning in a socioeconomically diverse community.

At the event, guests were serenaded with live music by O’Dowd’s String Orchestra during the cocktail reception. President J.D. Childs welcomed and thanked guests, sharing, “Your generosity tonight is a sign of your faith and cooperation with God’s grace. So I want to thank you so much for your faith, and for being here tonight to create one of those amazing moments of grace for Bishop O’Dowd High School.”

The keynote speaker was acclaimed artist and New York Times bestselling author Gene Luen Yang, who taught computer science and served as Director of Information Services at O’Dowd for 17 years. Yang spoke passionately about the transformative education O’Dowd offers, sharing a story about O’Dowd alum Todd Fong ’02, whose O’Dowd experience inspired him to use his medical degree to work with vulnerable populations through the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Yang shared, “His time at O’Dowd absolutely informed that decision…that is really the difference that this place makes. We of course want our kids to be successful, but not only in the worldly sense of success. We want our kids to lead lives of meaning, of impact, and of transformation.”

O’Dowd students Chisom Nlemigbo ’21 and Natalie Gutierrez Morales ’21 shared their personal experiences at O’Dowd and their gratitude for the opportunities, teachers, and support they have received in a variety of classes, clubs, leadership, service, and spiritual pursuits. Echoing Yang’s sentiment, Natalie shared, “Academically, I have learned that mere survival is not enough. As my teachers have helped me realize, putting your all into something lets your uniqueness and individuality shine through and in turn you make a lot of meaningful contributions.”

Thanks to alumni parent Steve Burke, who emceed the event, and our generous sponsors, who helped to ensure that every dollar raised goes directly to support tuition assistance. We would also like to recognize this year’s event committee for their outstanding leadership. The committee was chaired by Katharine Earhart and John Batcheller and Elaine and Patrick Connolly ’85. Event committee members included Lillian and Richard Buziak; Nikki Maguire and Alex Byron; Sharon and Steven Callaway ’80; Tegan and Pascal Hoffmann; Jennifer Long and Jeffrey Reibel; Monica and John Marcone; Tracey Borst and Robert Menicucci; Kate and Mark Mullen; and Ji and Daniel Winkler.

We are all grateful for O’Dowd’s tremendous community that made another Transforming Lives Dinner both successful and truly transformative.


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