Trinity Catholic Schools' 20th Annual Fall Gala was a scaled-down, hybrid version of the event and was themed "Celebrating 20 Years," with décor harkening to the roaring 20's.
Because of the increase in COVID-19 cases and Stark County's recent change from moderate to high risk, Trinity worked with Sherry Adams from the Southwestern District Health Unit to be sure they followed the state health department's guidelines.
"Sometimes people want to think that this is a bad thing because of the rise in cases recently, but I can tell you, we honestly did not go against any of Governor Burgum's guidelines, and we were still able to give our attendees a fun night," said DeAnn Scheeler, director of mission advancement for Trinity.
The event was attended both virtually and in-person.
Those present in-person would have noticed several major differences.
"We had about half as may attendees as we usually do, and the way that we accommodated the more recent change to orange ("high risk") is we moved people into different rooms throughout the building," Scheeler said. "While normally, it would all be in the gym, we had to use multiple spaces in the building and have smaller groups in those spaces."
All of the games they typically set up were via an online giving platform, Scheeler said. The auction was online, as well.
"All of our auction was actually online. It was mobile bidding for both our silent auction and our traditionally live-auction items ... It was great in a way because it expanded the number of people who could bid, and we did have quite a few people win items in those auctions that were not present that night," she said.
One of the highlights of the auction comes from the schools' students.
"Our class projects are always a big thing. Every class from pre-school through sixth grade, we have parent volunteers that coordinate the projects that those classes do, and those are always so fun. The students get to participate; the parents get to participate," Scheeler said.
Also in the auction was an Italian wine tasting courtesy of Fr. Bill Ruelle at St. Patrick's Parish and an apps and taps event courtesy of Fr. Robert Shea of St. Wenceslaus.
The annual event is important to Trinity, as it is both one of its major fundraising events of the year and a chance for the Titans to socialize.
"Tuition covers about half of what it costs to educate a student at Trinity," Scheeler said. "The other half comes from our parishes in town and fundraising. Financially, this event is very important for our budget, so from that standpoint, it was wonderful that we could still move forward with this to help keep our tuition costs low in the future."
Given that it was the 20th anniversary of the gala, Scheeler was glad they could still celebrate.
"Being able to celebrate 20 years and keep the tradition going, I think it was so meaningful to be able to recognize that and to thank all of the committees from prior years for the work that they've done," she said.
The event helps connect the students, parents and faculty of Trinity's various Dickinson schools.
"This event brings together all of our different buildings because parents volunteer, teachers volunteer; there's so many ways that everyone comes together to make this event happen. It's a great way for new families to feel connected and become part of the community that we have, and it really sets the tone for the rest of the year," Scheeler said.