On November 3, six hundred members of the Belen community attended the Annual Gala at the University of Miami’s Donna E. Shalala Student Center. The theme, “This Is Belen” encompassed what it means to be a member of this community. From the moment guests arrived, they were able to see thousands of pictures of students representing over seven decades of Belen memories. Guests interacted with student ambassadors and even Waldo the Wolverine graced the dance floor. Every detail was carefully planned and executed; from the background options in the photo booth to the pictures on display at every table to the video featuring hundreds of students.
“You looked around the ballroom and saw a room full of alumni who continue to carry this school in their hearts,” said Gala Co-Chair, Claudia Navarro.
“It was also full of non-alumni fathers, who have entrusted their sons to Belen and have seen firsthand the impact this school has had on them. The ballroom was also full of mothers, who have lovingly stood by their sons and supported them during these formative years,” said Gala Co-Chair Patty Paredes.
Putting this event together takes a village, and at the center of it, leading the charge, is Yvonne von der Osten, Belen’s Director of Parent & Corporate Engagement.
“We begin talking about the gala in the spring,” said von der Osten. “Together with the Gala committee and Raul Rodriguez ’95 from 2R Production, we choose a theme and begin working on the creative details. As the gala gets closer, an army of volunteers start working together in a well-choreographed routine. The one thing that is evident throughout the entire process is that everyone truly loves Belen.”
The winner of the Tuition Raffle was announced at the Gala on November 3. The winning ticket is #033.
The gala, along with Fr. Dorta- Duque, SJ Memorial Tombola and the Fr. Izquierdo Memorial Golf Tournament, are the principal fundraisers for Belen’s Financial Assistance Program. Since its founding in Havana, Cuba in 1854, and forced relocation in Miami in 1961, Belen Jesuit has been committed to providing a Jesuit education to as many young men as possible.
There were many parents, friends, and benefactors who worked with the school’s Advancement Office to make sure that the gala was a huge success. Special thanks to the Gala Co-Chairs Claudia Navarro and Patricia Paredes, Auction Co-Chairs Alina Leon and Cari Falero, Program Book Co-Chairs Alexandra Eiroa and Rosa de la Torre, and Decoration Chair Graciela Gallinar.
Special recognition to our Gala sponsors whose generous support made the Gala possible:
Edbrooke Stelcner & Associates
Francisco and Johana Sarria
A Falero Trucking
Baptist Health South Florida
Christian and Alexandra Eiroa
Demetrio and Susan Perez
International Finance Bank
Leon Cosgrove, LLP
Leon Medical Centers
Lievano – Perez ObGyn, LLC
MBAF CPAs and Advisors
Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables and Cutler Bay Michael G. and Maria T. Fresco
Northern Trust and Bank
Law Offices of Alexis Gonzalez, PA Aran, Correa, Guarch, P.A. Crescencio and Laura Ruiz
Enrique and Irene Sosa
Evensky & Katz
Everglades Steel – Orlando Garcia ’88 Florida Lemark Corporation
Gaston and Gloria Comas
HDR International Corp.
Jorge Luis Suarez and Nora Cruz One Miami – Alberto Gutierrez ’88 Ricardo M. and Mariela Martinez-Cid Raul J. Gutierrez