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Transforming Lives Dinner 2016

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Event Raises Nearly $280,000

As a freshman at a public high school, Cameron Lee ’19 was a straight “A” student, but was frustrated because he was unable to secure space in honors classes. He applied to O’Dowd because he was seeking a more academically challenging environment.

Cameron was accepted to O’Dowd based on his outstanding grades, test scores and recommendations. But in order to hold his place, Cameron’s mom, Cynthia, had to pay a $1,000 deposit – money she didn’t have. Money is tight in the Lee house, with Cynthia working two jobs to support Cameron and his 22-year-old sister with Down syndrome.

Fortunately for Cameron, O’Dowd was able to offer his family financial aid and make his dream of attending a college preparatory high school a reality.

“Dr. Phelps called my mom to tell us that I could become a Dragon because of generous donors like you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, because you have opened up a whole new world to me,” he said.

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Cameron was one of several speakers who shared their moving stories at O’Dowd’s signature fundraising event, the Transforming Lives Dinner, held on Nov. 3 and attended by almost 250 people, which raised nearly $280,000 for O’Dowd’s financial aid program.

The event was chaired by O’Dowd parents Imelda and Alan McIntosh. Alan is a member of the Board of Regents.

“Education is a blessing and a gift. I am grateful for this opportunity to grow, not only as a student and athlete, but as an individual. O’Dowd allows me to practice and deepen my Catholic faith and teaches moral and personal values to guide me in this confusing world,” Cameron said. “Thank you for investing in my future and for noticing my potential to do great things. Without your generosity, the access to such an amazing school would not be possible. My mom and sister and I will always be thankful to you.”

Event attendees also heard from two other students – Ruby Perez ’18 and Emily Mattoon ’18 – whose lives have been dramatically changed by the opportunity to attend O’Dowd.

And alumnus Michael Perry ’04, a successful entrepreneur in the technology arena who was named to the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list (in the marketing and advertising category) and was named a 2013 New Business Innovator of the Year, was the featured alumni speaker.

Perry urged event attendees to continue to create educational opportunities for students like Cameron, Ruby and Emily. “O’Dowd was a foundational part of my success in business and a launching pad for life,” he said.

He kicked off the “Fund-A-Need” portion of the program, making a donation of $2,004, in honor of his O’Dowd graduation year.

<img class="size-full wp-image-7714 alignleft lazyload" src="" alt="band" width="500" height="276" srcset=" 500w, 300w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" />This year, O’Dowd is providing $3 million in financial aid to over 30 percent of the student body who would not be attending our school without assistance. But that amount doesn’t begin to address the growing need for support.

It’s not too late to help deserving students. Visit our website to make an online gift.

The Transforming Lives Dinner Committee included PJ and Alex Bernstein, Leeann and Mike Cobb, Amy Duffy Hester ’89 and Kevin Hester ’88, Kevin Leader, Tina Canales and Greg Onken, and Maria and Tom ’74 Powell.

Special thanks to the O’Dowd String Orchestra, led by Director of Instrumental Music Fred Randolph, for providing musical entertainment at the event.


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