I made my way through the school at an early hour this morning to see if I could tell that over the weekend we had thousands of people stomping through the campus. Things looked great. It is amazing how our maintenance team not only works hard throughout the weekend, but when most are sleeping in on Monday morning, they are here bright and early getting things ready for school on Tuesday. While there are many we need to thank for the success of Tombola, special recognition goes to Gigi García-Chang who coordinated the whole thing. Tombola is like a three-ring circus and someone has to be the ringmaster. Gigi’s coordination and work would have made P.T. Barnum proud.
It was another successful Tombola. As a matter of fact, at the risk of sounding redundant every year, it was the best Tombola ever. So that you understand why I am obliged to say that, I will give you the reasons that lead me to make the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T.) claim for the 2019 festivity.
First: camaraderie. This is the heart and soul of Tombola. No other event reaches the level of community that Tombola does. Every single sector of the school community was here and even the sectors whose members are sometimes away for too long, made their way back. I ran into hundreds of alumni and parents who have either not been back since graduation and are blown away by the campus or alumni and parents who have made their way back occasionally and are still blown away by the campus. I should give a special shout-out to future Wolverines who wore their Belen swag proudly and especially to the class of 2026!
Second: dedication. People rise to the challenge. Faculty, staff, administration, students, parents, grandparents, alumni… they don’t simply come to eat and drink, they come to work. Not a single faculty or staff member was missing this weekend. They were all here working hard. They are so dedicated and loyal, it is a privilege to have them here. How about the parents? There were many who were here all-day Friday, all-day Saturday, and didn’t leave Sunday until midnight. By the way, while I had the day off Monday, they had to drudge into work the next day. Superstars!
Third: faithfulness. Here I would like to mention one particular case as an example of several. Leo Caraballo, Pablo Plascencia, Manuel Valle, and Valentin Arenas were making “arroz con cosas” in the central patio next to the mojito booth on Saturday and Sunday. They brought all of the supplies, paid for all of the ingredients, cooked, and served. Here’s the clincher… they’re not alumni and their sons graduated from Belen many years ago. They were there because Belen is in their blood.
Fourth: moolah. While I am pleased that I can give various reasons that speak to the success of Tombola that do not involve money, moolah is a factor. The goal for this year was $675,000.000, up from last year’s amount. We knew it would be a challenge. By design we have less students, which means less resources. On Saturday we took a hit because of the afternoon rain. But focused on the goal and fueled by Belen’s will to reach great heights, we made a strong comeback. This morning’s number was $672,500.00, but after a donation from the raffle ticket winners, we can proudly announce that we are at $675,166.18.