If you drove up today to drop off your son you would never know that this past weekend Belen Jesuit held its annual Tombola.
Over the weekend, the campus was literally teeming with tens of thousands of individuals who gathered for food, music, and a lot of fun. From carnival rides to booths, the campus was plastered with one thing or another, each manned by a parent, or teacher, or student. Even the grandparents got into the action with their own booth in the central patio. It was a hive of activity.
I know we seem to say this every year, but this truly was the greatest Tombola ever. Together we raised $578,148.27 for our financial assistance program, surpassing last year’s total by over $75,000. This means that now many of our young men will be able to continue receiving their education here at Belen Jesuit. This would not have happened without your help, both of time and treasure. On behalf of the whole school community: thank you!
But the greatness of this year’s Tombola cannot be measured simply by how much money we raised. It’s much more than that. The vibe was electric. I found myself spending most of my time walking around (with mojito in hand) and shaking hands, high-fiving people, and being hugged by so many who flashed smiles expressing their honest joy with being there. Thousands were the alumni, many who had not been back to the campus since they graduated, that reminisced with their old teachers and Jesuit priests as they walked in awe with the growth and development of their alma mater.
They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, this year’s Tombola setup proved the adage correct. We originally brainstormed a design for a layout that this year would work around the aquatic center and cafeteria construction. Little did we know that what would emerge was a layout that worked so well that we have already decided will be repeated again next year and for years to come.
Now, while it is impossible to sit here and name every individual who worked so hard to make this year’s Tombola so great, I would remiss if I didn’t point out a few. First, to our Dean of Men Thomas de Quesada ‘94, Gigi García-Chang our Assistant for Student Activities, along with the members of the Office of Advancement. They were the architects and contractors of this great endeavor. To the faculty and staff who put their time and effort (and their weekend) to working the different booths, events, and handled the accounting. To the parents who are vested in Belen Jesuit and the success of our overall program. To our students who understood that working the Tombola was a way of helping their Belen brothers. In particular, to Aleco Smith ‘17, Student Council President, T.J. Rosell ‘17, Vice-President, and the senior class of 2017. They answered the call, stood at the plate, and hit a homerun. We’re proud of them.
I need to also thank our school chef, Richard Moncada and the Sage kitchen staff who were so instrumental in our success. They kept our food booths moving with hot, delicious food. They also made sure the booths were stocked with the items needed. And last, but definitely-under-no-circumstances-without-a-doubt, not least, the maintenance staff under the direction of Rick Echeverria ’84 and Orlando García. Wow, these are the unsung heroes of the weekend. Before, during, and after Tombola they were zoned in and on fire. Just remember that while most of us were sleeping in on Monday to recover from the weekend, they were here bright and early getting the campus ready for Tuesday.
So, on to next year. Stop reading, pullout your smartphone, and mark your calendar for the weekend of February 9, 10, and 11, 2018. Forget about going out of town, forget about getting married or second honeymoons, forget about regattas, baseball games, or travel basketball. Next year, Tombola 2018 will be the place to be. We need more parents manning the booths so that a select, very dedicated few are not overtaxed. We need more alumni to come back so that the spirit of Belen Jesuit can be rekindled. We need more of you so that 163 years of Belen Jesuit tradition can become 164 and beyond.