St. Xavier High School has never been confused with clothing capitals Paris or Milan. Yet fashion tips abounded when the school masqueraded as Cape Cod for X-Travaganza 2011: X-Cape to New England.
From boat shoes with no socks to Nantucket Red slacks to bow ties, the St. X community was styling and profiling for its annual dinner auction. Maybe the most valuable tip? According to Dhani Jones there’s no need to button a suit jacket when wearing a bow tie.
Jones would know. The Bengals linebacker and reality TV star brought his Bow Ties for a Cause to X-Trav and helped raise nearly $40,000 for the retention program in the process, just one of many highlights over the course of a successful weekend.
“Mary and I have had a great time this year with the opportunity to be general chairs,” said Jim Thacker. “I’ll never get to be a graduate of the school, but I feel like through this opportunity the community took us in and made us feel like we were part of the family. We’re so grateful for everyone who helped make this X-Travaganza great.”
The Thackers helmed several changes to the annual event, including a flip-flop of locations for First Night and the dinner auction. First Night: Knot Your Usual Clambake took occupancy in the Berning Gym March 11 with more than 600 people attending, including about 200 incoming freshman parents from the class of 2015.
“First Night has grown so much in the last few years, we thought making some changes to bring people together would be a good idea,” said Sara Schindler, director of X-Travaganza. “Bringing the new parents is a great way to welcome them, show them what the community of St. X is like. We do a lot for the boys, but we also make sure we have fun.”
The move into the Ellis Gym for the main event proved a success, too, with more room between tables, a new video display and improved sound. In addition, patrons could vie for auction items from their seats by way of the Bid Pal devices employed by X-Trav for the first time.
“We could keep the silent auction open a little longer, not have to stagger the closing times for each section and make it easy for people to track what they wanted to buy without running back and forth between tables,” Schindler said. “I think they worked pretty well.”
President Fr. Tim Howe S.J. pulled the Grand Raffle winners. Mr. and Mrs. Paul Muething won the top prize of $20,000, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Hendy took second with $10,000 and Sandy and Chris Leary were third for $5,000. Grand Raffle set a record for number of tickets sold.
In addition to snapping up bow ties, patrons donated to the X-Tend-A-Hand program benefitting the Matt James Scholarship Endowment. Seniors Marcus Hughes and Joe Neiser addressed the audience, speaking on the personal benefits they’ve reaped from the retention program and tuition assistance.
“I can’t thank the Mary and Jim Thacker enough,” Schindler said. “My staff, too, who did incredible work all year to make this night so special. But none of it happens without a love for the school, for the boys here, and a desire by this community to give them the opportunity to succeed in life with the help of a St. X education.”