- History of the X-Travaganza
A brief history with many thanks to Mrs. Cynthia A. Piening.
X-TRAVAGANZA...when the name was coined, little did they know that the little auction that was, would grow to be one of the premier charity auctions in the city and the "granddaddy" of many high school and parish auctions in the area.
In 1973, when President Mark Schuler hired Bro Peter J. Maurer, SJ, it was to develop the concept of a fund-raising auction to seek other sources of revenue to defray operating expenses. He used the early successes of the auction at Loyola Academy in Chicago as a model. A fall date was chosen so as not to compete with the WCET auction that was held in the spring. The chairs, Ginny and Gene Ruehlmann and Ruth and John Keefe were able to spearhead the first annual auction—a black-tie affair with dinner and breakfast—to raise an astounding $25,000! This profit would be used to subsidize the increasing costs at a time when tuition was $900!
Dick Klus, whose name is synonymous with the auction, left his position as Assistant Principal in 1974, to join Bro. Maurer, to co-direct the budding Development Office. Along with Chairs Pat and Norm Murdock and Marty and Bob Jacobs, they were able to increase the profit to $30,000. By May of 1975, Bro. Maurer left St. Xavier and Dick became the Director of Development. Later that summer, Paul Zook left the English Department to form a "team of two" who would strengthen the foundation and carefully cultivate the X-Travaganza. Jim Cahill would join the duo in the Development Office from 1985 to 1990.
X-Travaganza 2020: Off to the TropiX…Hawaii Bound
For the past 47 years, X-Travaganza has served as the St. Xavier flagship event. Countless members of the St. Xavier community have worked together in support of X-Travaganza, collectively raising millions of dollars to support the school’s educational and formational programs. This event also provides the opportunity for newcomers to forge a bond with the school and “veterans” to strengthen that bond.
X-Travaganza 2020 kicked off on Friday, March 6 with Opening Party 2020: Hula Palooza. Opening Party Chairs Kate and Steve Feldmann and Julie and John Herrmann welcomed over 500 guests to the decked-out Berning Gym. The event featured a buffet with an array of Lenten foods and superb desserts, entertainment by the St. X Jazz Band and X-citing raffles and Silent Auction items. Welcoming parents of the Freshman Class of 2024 to the St. Xavier community were President Tim Reilly ’76 and Principal Terry Tyrrell, who reinforced St. X’s commitment to the incoming class, the importance of summer study skills classes and early involvement in the numerous activities available at St. X.
The following evening, March 7, X-Travaganza Chairs Colleen and Adam Ireton ’88 and Lisanne and Mike Thompson ’84 greeted those attending Off to the TropiX…Hawaii Bound held in the transformed Ellis Gym. While browsing and bidding on more than 400 Silent Auction items, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as well as purchasing chances on the Drink Raffle, Bourbon Raffle, Reds Raffle and Grab Bag surprises.
Fr. Baum led a prayer after guests were seated. Not delaying one more minute, the Grand Raffle ticket drawing was held for prizes of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000. As the gourmet meal was served, auctioneer and evening emcee, Mr. Lance Walker, opened the fast-paced Live Auction. Bidding was constant and ever-increasing for over 50 tempting items including a week in an Italian villa, two weeks in Hawaii, Hamilton in the Big Apple, Greenbrier Weekend and a Fly Fishing X-pedition to Jackson Hole.
Through the generosity of the entire St. Xavier community, X-Travaganza 2020 raised more than $900,000 to benefit all St. Xavier students. Thank you to X-Travaganza Director Cathy Cionni and her staff, X-Travaganza 2020 Chairs Colleen and Adam Ireton and Lisanne and Mike Thompson and Opening Party Chairs Kate and Steve Feldmann and Julie and John Herrmann. More than 1,500 X-Travaganza supporters – many continuing to support the event years after their son graduates – contribute to make every activity a fun, community-building event. These volunteers, committee chairs, donors, sponsors, auction bidders, event attendees and other supporters bring the event from the starting gate to the finish line. Through their efforts, proceeds from X-Travaganza’s year-round series of events, auctions and raffles benefit all the young men at St. Xavier.
X-Travaganza 2019: A Derby Night XTraordinaire
For the past 46 years, X-Travaganza has served as the St. Xavier flagship event. Countless members of the St. Xavier community have worked together in support of X-Travaganza, collectively raising millions of dollars to support the school’s educational and formational programs. This event also provides the opportunity for newcomers to forge a bond with the school and “veterans” to strengthen that bond.
X-Travaganza 2019 kicked off on Friday, March 8 with Opening Party 2019: Out of the Barn – Off to the Races. Opening Party Chairs Christine and Dave Dauenhauer and Julie and Gary Shipley welcomed over 600 guests to the decked-out Berning Gym. The event featured a buffet with an array of Lenten foods and superb desserts, entertainment by the St. X Marching Band Drumline and X-citing raffles and Silent Auction items. Welcoming parents of the Freshman Class of 2023 to the St. Xavier community were President Tim Reilly ’76 and Principal Terry Tyrrell, who reinforced St. X’s commitment to the incoming class, the importance of summer study skills classes and early involvement in the numerous activities available at St. X.
The following evening, March 9, X-Travaganza Chairs Colleen and Adam Ireton ’88 greeted those attending A Derby Night XTraordinaire, held in the transformed Ellis Gym. While browsing and bidding on more than 400 Silent Auction items, guests enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as well as purchasing chances on the Drink Raffle, Bourbon Raffle, Reds Raffle and Duck Pond surprises.
Fr. Baum led a prayer after guests were seated. Not delaying one more minute, the Grand Raffle ticket drawing was held for prizes of $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000. As the gourmet meal was served, auctioneer and evening emcee, Mr. Lance Walker, opened the fast-paced Live Auction. Bidding was constant and ever-increasing for over 55 tempting items including a week in an Italian villa, Hamilton in the Big Apple, a Chicago X-perience, FC Cincinnati Suite and Derby weekend tickets in Millionaires Row. An evening highlight was the return of Greg Scruggs ’08, who shared his inspirational personal story. While a St. X student receiving tuition assistance, he excelled on the gridiron as a Bomber before becoming a University of Louisville Cardinal. Having enjoyed a successful NFL career, including two Super Bowl rings, he now is with the University of Cincinnati football staff as Director of Player Development. Greg’s moving explanation of the impact the generosity of donors had on his life prompted a standing ovation, followed by an outpouring of donations.
Through the generosity of the entire St. Xavier community, X-Travaganza 2019 raised more than $905,000 to benefit all St. Xavier students. Thank you to X-Travaganza Director Cathy Cionni and her staff, X-Travaganza 2019 Chairs Colleen and Adam Ireton and the Opening Party Chairs Christine and David Dauenhauer and Julie and Gary Shipley. More than 1,500 X-Travaganza supporters – many continuing to support the event years after their son graduates – contribute to make every activity a fun, community-building event. These volunteers, committee chairs, donors, sponsors, auction bidders, event attendees and other supporters bring the event from the starting gate to the finish line. Through their efforts, proceeds from X-Travaganza’s year-round series of events, auctions and raffles benefit all the young men at St. Xavier.
X-Travaganza 2018: A Magical Mix of Fun and Purpose
X-Travaganza 2018: Xperience the Magic marks the 45th year of St. Xavier’s flagship event. Through the years, countless members of the St. Xavier community have worked together in support of X-Travaganza, collectively raising millions of dollars to support St. Xavier’s educational and formational programs.
X-Travaganza 2018 kicked off on Friday, March 9 with Opening Party 2018: Xpect the UnXpected. Opening Party Chairs Christine and David Dauenhauer and Julie and Gary Shipley welcomed over 600 guests to the decked-out Berning Gym. The St. Xavier Marching Bombers’ Drumline entertained the crowd as guests enjoyed a Lenten buffet and desserts, dropped tickets into the Basket Raffle and bid on Silent Auction items. Parents of the Freshmen Class of 2022 were welcomed to the St. X community by current President Fr. Howe, incoming President Tim Reilly (76) and Principal Terry Tyrrell, who reinforced St. X’s commitment to the incoming freshman class, the importance of the summer study skills classes and early involvement in the numerous activities available at St. X.
On Saturday evening March 10, X-Travaganza Chairs Michelle and Mark Nagle and Allyson and Mike Schumacher welcomed guests to Xperience the Magic in the Ellis Gym. Guests mingled and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while browsing and bidding on more than 400 Silent Auction items. Under an arc of sparkling doves, whimsical Mad Hatter cards and black top hats, the lobby offered Golden Tickets (to win a Live Auction item before the auction started), Swag Bags, the Drink Raffle with Magic Hat craft beer and the coveted 2018 Duck Pond surprises.
To begin the festivities, the guests settled into their seats and Fr. Howe led the attendees in prayer. The buzz rose again with the Grand Raffle ticket drawing for the exciting $5,000, $10,000 and $20,000 prizes. As the gourmet dinner was served, the fast-paced excitement of the Live Auction kicked off with auctioneer Mr. Lance Walker as the emcee. Live Auction packages included an Ireland Golf Trip, Broadway’s Hamilton NYC trip, Las Vegas Magic X-perience, Chicago Cubs rooftop tickets, a FC Cincinnati suite and many other fantastic items. Always an inspirational highlight of Live Auction, the X-Tend a Hand portion showcased the generosity of those who filled the room.
Through the generosity of the entire St. Xavier community, X-Travaganza 2018 raised more than $870,000 to benefit all St. Xavier students. Thank you to X-Travaganza Director Cathy Cionni and her staff, the X-Travaganza 2018 Chairs Michelle and Mark Nagle and Allyson and Mike Schumacher, and the Opening Party Chairs Christine and David Dauenhauer and Julie and Gary Shipley. More than 1,500 X-Travaganza supporters – many continuing to support X-Trav for years after their son graduates – contribute to make every activity a fun, community-building event. These volunteers, committee chairs, donors, sponsors, auction bidders, event attendees and other supporters make the true magic happen. Through their efforts, proceeds from X-Travaganza’s year-round series of events, auctions and raffles benefit all of the young men at St. Xavier.
X-Travaganza 2017: HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS - Lights, Camera, AXtion! rolled out the red carpet for guests on Saturday, March 11. The 2017 event delivered another unforgettable evening, as guests enjoyed a formal sit-down dinner and the fast-paced action of the live and silent auctions at the 44th annual X-Travaganza event.
Opening Party 2017: A REEL PARTY kicked off X-Travaganza Weekend on Friday, March 10. Guests enjoyed a casual evening of food, drinks, raffles, live music, baskets and more with fellow St. X supporters. Welcome Class of 2021 parents!
With the support and enthusiasm of the St. Xavier community, X-Travaganza has grown to be more than St. Xavier High School's annual dinner auction fundraiser. X-Trav is also a year-round series of events, raffles and auctions that collectively benefit the students with education programs and the tuition assistance fund. Whether as a volunteer, donor or participant, being involved in X-Travaganza is a fun and rewarding way to meet more members of The Long Blue Line while supporting St. Xavier's mission. Thank you!
The Great GaXby – Celebrating an Era of Dreams
X-Travaganza is an annual St. Xavier High School tradition, bringing together parents, alumni and friends of St. Xavier to enjoy fun events while supporting the students. As the largest fundraiser of the year, X-Travaganza proceeds directly benefit all students by funding educational programs and co-curriculars that contribute to the students’ development as Men for Others.
Themed The Great GaXby – Celebrating an Era of Dreams, X-Travaganza 2016 is a weekend of events. Friday, March 11 kicks off the festivities with Opening Party 2016: All That Jazz, a casual evening of food, drinks, raffles, baskets, exclusive Silent Auction items and a preview of Saturday evening’s X-Travaganza Silent Auction items as well. This Friday evening event is an informal opportunity to meet new friends, reconnect with fellow St. Xavier supporters and enjoy a festive atmosphere that includes a performance from Out of the Blue, St. Xavier’s talented Jazz Ensemble. Opening Party Chairs Michelle and Rob Morgan, along with Co-Chairs Jaime and Jim Bitzenhofer, and Ana and Chris Infantino, will orchestrate a fun evening to get the party started, Roaring Twenties style!
X-Travaganza 2016 on Saturday, March 12 starts with Mass in the Chapel, followed by hors d’oeurves and a complimentary bar, Silent Auction bidding on hundreds of exciting and unique items, and an elegant sit-down dinner. As the X-Travaganza Live Auction kicks off, the excitement builds as items – from coveted tickets to sporting and entertainment events, vacation packages, jewelry and one-of-a-kind experiences – move quickly to the lucky highest bidder! X-Travaganza 2016 Chairs Laurie and Bill Deters, and Debbie and Andy Walter, promise a glamorous and memorable event that includes the Grand Raffle drawing for cash prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 – truly an exciting start to the evening.
Both nights surround guests with X-ceptional decorations inspired by the theme. Our appreciation goes out to the hundreds of volunteers, donors and sponsors that make these unforgettable events possible. This collective generosity and enthusiasm creates a unique opportunity for fun and fellowship, with proceeds benefiting the young men of St. Xavier. Your support of X-Travaganza – whether attending an event, purchasing Grand Raffle tickets, donating gifts for the auctions, volunteering and countless other roles – fulfills the long-standing tradition of student support by the St. X community.
To register for X-Travaganza events and to purchase Grand Raffle Tickets online, please visit www.stxavier.org/xtravaganza.
X-Travaganza 2015, themed SUPERHEROES: Xploring Truth, Justice and the Jesuit Way, was a big success! Thank you to all the St. Xavier supporters who donated auction items, volunteered, bid in the auctions, attended events and more -- you are among the true superheroes for the young men of St. Xavier High School.
Held March 14, 2015, the 42nd annual X-Travaganza was a SUPER-sized event with record attendance on both Friday and Saturday evenings.
More than 650 guests filled the Ellis Gym for the Saturday evening event hosted by chairs Peg and Joe Halpin and Jean and Cliff Robson. Guests were greeted by superhero students then enjoyed Mass, a three-course dinner, exciting live and silent auctions and out-of-this-world decorations.
A huge thank you goes out to the 500 plus volunteers and the record number of attendees who helped make the events a success! As with all X-Travaganza events, auctions and raffles, proceeds directly benefit the students with educational programs and tuition assistance. Thank you!
modern art - an unexpected Xperience fell right in step with the 41 previous years of X-Travaganza and proved to be another successful fundraiser for St. Xavier High School.
"I am very impressed with the planning and execution of the X-Travaganza weekend," said Principal Terry Tyrrell. "It is a wonderful example of the collaborative spirit of St. X for the betterment of our students."
The weekend event kicked off in the Berning Gym with First Night Art Xpressions chaired by Jill and John O’Shea and Michelle and Rob Morgan. Nearly 500 guests enjoyed delicious Lenten dishes, drinks and desserts in a casual atmosphere. Many incoming parents from the Class of 2018 were able to mingle with current parents and supporters and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Principal Terry Tyrrell and President Fr. Tim Howe SJ. The event featured an outstanding performance by the St. X Drumline. The casual party was a perfect way to start the festivities.
On Saturday, more than 620 guests filled the Ellis Gym, which had artfully been turned into a modern art museum for X-Travaganza 2014: modern art - an unXpected Xperience, hosted by Heidi Mechley-Felton and Mike Felton. Guests enjoyed Mass to begin the evening, and were amazed by students "morphing" to greet them outside the entrance before they moved on to enjoy dinner, beautiful art and the opportunity to bid on amazing items.
"The night was a celebration of the St. X spirit where hard work intersected with tradition," said Heidi Mechley-Felton, chair of X-Travaganza. "From the outside performers, to the student artwork used in the beautifully executed decorations created by decoration chairs Andrea Berndt and Aimie Delworth, I was so happy guests were able to enjoy the artistic side of St. X."
The live auction at X-Travaganza featured 72 fantastic items ranging from culinary delights and travel experiences to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
A highlight of the evening was the X-Tend A Hand portion of the evening when supporters were asked to make donations towards tuition assistance. More than $25,000 was raised for tuition assistance on this one effort alone.
"The energy from Friday and Saturday night was incredible. My thanks goes out to the Executive Committee and all of our volunteers for their time and energy this year. Their efforts made X-Travaganza 2014 a huge success which will benefit every young man at St. X!" said X-Travaganza Director Cathy Cionni. "Thank you to our guests for their support, and especially to Heidi Mechley-Felton and Mike Felton who served as wonderful and enthusiastic chairs.
X-Travaganza 2013 - An Evening on the Linx
St. Xavier was transformed into an Xclusive Golf Club for X-Travaganza 2013 – An Evening on the LinX. Event Chairs Joe and Maria Arcuri worked tirelessly with dozens of committees and hundreds of volunteers to ensure the multifaceted event was a huge success. Months of preparation culminated in a fabulous weekend of fundraising for St. Xavier.
"It was truly a privilege for Joe and I to chair X-Travaganza this year. We were humbled by the overwhelming support of all the volunteers and staff. Having grown up in the St. X community, it was amazing to see firsthand the selfless sharing of talents and the countless hours given by so many to help continue the mission of St. Xavier High School. It was a wonderful journey and we feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of this remarkable tradition," said Maria Arcuri.
"What makes X-Travaganza special is the people behind the event. The Arcuri’s were wonderful Chairs to work with. They brought so much enthusiasm and knowledge to the Executive Committee. It really takes an army to plan and execute X-Travaganza! We had 20 Gift Gathering parties hosted by more than 100 families. Our volunteers go above and beyond to ensure the success of the event every year," said Cathy Cionni, Director of X-Travaganza.
X-travaganza teed-up on Friday, March 8th with a First Night Par-Tee to be remembered. Over 800 guests enjoyed an evening with friends old and new on the Linx of the Berning Gym. First Night featured many different events including a Rapid Raffle, Split the Pot, Silent Auction, Basket Raffle, Drink Raffle, Reds Box Raffle and Reverse Raffle.
Saturday’s festivities began at 5:00 p.m. with Mass in the Chapel of Holy Companions celebrated by St. Xavier President, Fr. Tim Howe SJ. After Mass, the doors opened and guests hit the Linx for the Silent Auction, Sign-up Parties and a variety of raffles. Dinner and the Live Auction ran concurrently and featured some fantastic items. The ever popular X-Travaganza puppies went home with two lucky families.
There was no shortage of exciting travel opportunities as the auction included a golf trip to Ireland, a dream week in Tuscany and a trip to The Masters with accommodations at Reynolds Plantation. The Decorations Committee hit a hole in one in 2013! The golf club atmosphere was enhanced with a "Green Jacket," golf trophies and a supersized golf ball for guests to enjoy. Student volunteers acted as caddys for the event and sold roses in the Sweetheart Rose Raffle.
"When people think of X-Travaganza they think of the event in March. But, we have a broad variety of events throughout the school year that allowed us to raise $810,000 for the school. We had tremendous success with our holiday and spring on-line auctions. The 2013 Grand Raffle raised $235,000. We hosted a Ladies Golf Outing in the fall and a Texas Hold ’em night in January. The time and talent commitment that we receive from our volunteers and the support of our donors is truly exceptional!" said Cathy Cionni.
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."
X-Travaganza 2010 x-cites and x-cels
The Call to the Post sounded through the Berning Gymnasium and the St. Xavier High School community responded in fine fashion.
A sold-out gathering of more than 550 people attended X-Travaganza 2010: A Derby Night X-acta, helping raise a lot of money for the school March 13. Final numbers won't be available until next week, but early indications are this year's event did very well.
"I couldn't be more grateful to Roseanne and Gene Colleran for spearheading such an amazing night," said Sara Schindler, X-Trav Director. "They did a great job all year leading up to the event. Co-chairs Mary and Jim Thacker, all the committee chairs, all the volunteers, all the patrons, we have a very special community and this was a wonderful celebration of that."
Auctioneer Lance Walker again guided the crowd through spirited bidding on 74 spectacular live auction items. The highlights included a golden retriever puppy that went for $4,900 a Kentucky Derby luxury weekend package sold for $6,000 and a pair of Mass-and-brunch events for 50 with St. X President Fr. Tim Howe S.J. fetched $4,000 each.
"You have the best party in town," Walker told the audience. "You have a great product to support, too, and you always do a fantastic job. I love coming here for this event."
Several new items appeared in the live auction, including a chance for a personally guided tour of the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Museum with Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. It sold for $4,500. A variety of student internship opportunities also sold well.
"We tried some new ideas and new items," Schindler said. "I think they were a great addition to the auction. People were interested in some of these unique opportunities, and I think we had things available for a wide array of interests."
The Grand Raffle proved grand indeed for alumni parents Dr. and Mrs. Michael E. Jones, current parent Peggy Stepien and alumnus N.B. Zimmerman ('55), winners of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in cash, respectively. Fr. Howe pulled the winners just before the live auction began.
The silent auction featured about 700 gifts in seven categories, sending hundreds of people home with items ranging from sports memorabilia and game tickets to restaurant certificates, from jewelry to fine art, from St. X treasures to travel packages.
X-Trav 2010 came on the heels of a record-setting First Night March 12, as more than 600 people filled the Ellis Gym, including nearly 200 parents from the incoming freshman class of 2014.
"Inviting them was a great idea," Schindler said. "They brought a lot of energy to the event and it was a great chance for us to show them how much fun X-Travaganza weekend is. It was a great fit."
African X-Pedition Successful, Fun
The song is wrong. The lion did anything but sleep the night of March 14 when the Serengeti descended on St. Xavier High School for X-Travaganza 2009: An African X-Pedition.
More than 500 guests roared over good food and the great atmosphere of Cincinnati's premiere charitable auction event. The X-Pedition netted more than dollars for the benefit of the students of St. Xavier. The X-Pedition again brought the family of St. X together.
"X-Travaganza is built on community spirit," said Margo Locaputo, X-Travaganza director. "X-Trav serves such an important function in the school for the community building. People buy into it. From the gift-gathering parties, to the phonothons, to the actual night of the auction, people want to be part of this. It's grown to over 900 people, and these are the people who are the backbone of the school."
"It was such an easy and great way to help so many people," said Tina Hawking, who chaired the event with her husband, Andy. "The level of commitment and dedication that preceded us was so amazing, that we knew it would be successful. It was our distinct pleasure to have been a part of such a great event."
The entire Hawking family participated in the fun. Drew Hawking (2009) served as the on-stage spotter for auctioneer Lance Walker. Brian Hawking (2011) helped display some of the items up for bid. Daughter Clare Hawking – home from Chicago for the weekend – helped keep an eye on one of the auction items her family obtained, a chocolate Labrador puppy.
"Her name is Bea, Tina said. "It sounds like 'bee,' but it's really short for Beaufort in South Carolina. We have a Georgia at home already and she's getting along well with her new family."
Steve Frey ('80) won the $20,000 top prize in the Grand Raffle. John Frey – who lives on the same street as Steve and is a 1980 classmate, though the two are not related - won the $5,000 third prize. The late Dr. Robert Thierauf ('51) won the $10,000 runner-up prize.
"It was electric," Margo said of the auction night and raffle drawing. "Really the night of the event our job is finished. It's up to the people in the room to bid and make things exciting, and they did.
"The secret to X-Travaganza – to getting that electricity in the room that night - is continuity. You're training new people all the time, but the old people are there as advisors. It's the blending of the old guard with the new that keeps some of the traditions but keeps it fresh, too. We're very fortunate. People are so generous with their time and with their gifts."
The debilitating snow has long since melted away, the last bills have been paid and the numbers are sufficiently crunched.
St. Xavier High School's X-Travaganza 2008: Broadway X-Citement dinner auction – chaired by Cathy and Tony Cionni ('74) – netted a record $750,838 for the school. It's the 11th straight year X-Travaganza has earned record totals. X-Travaganza has added more than $4.9 million to the school since 2000.
The blizzard of 2008 played havoc with the event schedule, forcing a postponement from March 8 to March 9. The First Night: Razzle Dazzle event was postponed twice. But, all's well that ends well.
"This is amazing, going over three quarters of a million dollars," said X-Travaganza Director Margo Locaputo. "It's unprecedented. Even with moving X-Travaganza back a night because of the blizzard and changing First Night twice, we still broke last year's record total of $728,593."
The breakdown includes more than $240,000 raised on 94 live auction items, more than $33,000 on 82 Super Silent gifts and more than $62,000 on 674 Silent Auction items. The Grand Raffle sold 2,420 tickets resulting in more than $182,000 in profit.
The oral auction brought the crowd to its feet at the close of several spirited bidding wars, especially those conducted for the right to own beautiful new puppies. Virtually every item in the silent auction had a bid – and many items went for well above face value.
At First Night guests enjoyed entertainment from the cast of Theatre Xavier's The Scarlett Pimpernel while dining on an array of food and drinks, playing games of chance and participating in another silent auction.
X-Citing X-Travaganza nets new record
Leading up to X-Travaganza weekend the fourth annual Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament on February 23 added about $7,000 to the pot. (Alumnus Tony Venosa ('91) beat out more than 70 other players to win.) X-Travaganza's third annual online auction closed in a flurry of bidding to earn nearly $60,000 for the cause.
"The benefits of X-Travaganza impact each and every one of us in the building every day, more immediately than most people can imagine," said St. X President Fr. Walter C. Deye S.J. ('66). "X-Travaganza allows us to offer a full plate of mission trips, support a wide variety of athletic programs, fund a significant arts program, have an extensive community service program, and afford group transportation despite the significant increase in fuel costs to name but a few things in our hallmark educational program. On the back of this one event rides many opportunities."
"We're so blessed to have such a generous community," Margo said. "They know a Jesuit education is a sacrifice for a lot of people, but they also know how valuable that education is. They go out of their way to support what we're doing here every day for the boys.
"What makes it successful are the people. The Cionnis were great chairmen to work with. All the different committee chairs did beautifully. We have hundreds and hundreds of people volunteering or making donations and that just makes it fun. The money is very nice, but the community aspect of X-Travaganza is what makes it so special. We're already looking forward to March 14, 2009 when Tina and Andy Hawking chair the event."
X-Travaganza 2007 Sets New Income Record - It's official. And it's a record.
A little less than a month after the annual X-Travaganza dinner party and auction, the numbers have all been crunched revealing the March 10 Emerald Isle X-Perience netted $735,246 for the school.
The figure marks a nearly $85,000 increase from 2006's then-record total of $650,851.
"We could not be more thrilled," said Margo Locaputo, director of X-Trav. "To go over $700,000 for the first time – and to do it by so much – well, it says a lot about the people who support the school, the people who work so hard on this all year to make one very special night."
"We can only say thank you to general chairs Christy and Terry Horan ('69), co-chairs Tony ('74) and Cathy Cionni, all the different committee chairs, all the hundreds of volunteers,
Margo and her team" said Ralph Nardini ('77), vice president for development. "It's a huge undertaking and the X-Travaganza continues to outdo itself. More than the money, though, X-Trav builds such a sense of community among the people who become a part of it.
That part is invaluable and, I think, why so many people either volunteer or attend X-Trav year after year."
One of the largest contributing factors to the record X-Trav total was the success of the oral auction, which raised nearly a quarter million dollars in bidding on 94 items. The Grand Raffle – with top prizes of $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 – also did record business with 2,533 tickets sold.
Another success story for X-Travaganza was the online auction. X-Trav 2005 did not have an online component. The online debut in 2006 brought in $37,612. The 2007 online auction grew by nearly 50 percent, pulling in $54,575.
"We're always looking for ways to make it bigger, better and more fun," Locaputo said. "We want to keep growing, keep giving as much as we can to the school. I'm already looking forward to next year."
The final event on the 2007 X-Travaganza calendar is the annual thank you dinner. Volunteers will gather in the St. X cafeteria on Wednesday, May 9, for food fellowship and fun. Call the X-Trav office at 761-7815 ext. 113 or ext. 117 for more information.
X-Travaganza made its debut in 1973 and netted $25,000 for the school. It first cracked six figures in 1983 and eclipsed the $200,000 mark for the first time in 1987. Since then growth has continued at a rapid pace, going over $300,000 in 1995, raising more than $400,000 in 2001 and topping $500,000 in 2004.
2006 X-Travaganza A Great Success
It happens year in and year out. X-Travaganza continues to be a living testament to the hard work and dedication of over 900 volunteers, as well as St. Xavier faculty and staff members. This year's X-Travaganza was a sold out event, drawing 592 people to St. Xavier High School on the evening of March 11 to enjoy an Italian X-scape and raise money to benefit St. Xavier High School.
X-Travaganza has grown into a two-night affair. Preview night, March 10, was a more casual (but just as fun) evening. Preview night (chaired by Betsy Gibboney) allows guests to see first hand what will be at the main event and allows for wonderful opportunities to meet and mingle while bidding on gift baskets and more.
The big night itself was March 11 and featured two highlights - the live auction and the grand raffle drawing.
This year's live auction featured 80 items that went from an adorable chocolate Labrador puppy, to a private jet with four tickets to the Notre Dame/Michigan game, to wonderful vacation destinations, to a fun personal watercraft to just about everything and anything in between! Jim ('72) and Barb Coffaro chaired this year's event along with co-chairs Terry ('69) and Christy Horan. From the dinner to the decorations the X-Travaganza chairs deleiverd on the theme of an Italian X-scape!
Thank you to all that made this event possible!
X-Travaganza 2006: X-Travaganza Milestone
Congratulations to EVERYONE who worked on X-Travaganza 2006 "An Italian X-scape" and contributed to the outstanding results! To Parents, Alumni, Students, Faculty and Staff and the many Friends of St. Xavier: We are proud to announce that under the capable leadership of General Chairs, Barb and Jim Coffaro ‘72, this year’s X-Travaganza set a record net of $650,850. The net auction revenue was $475,370 and the net contribution of the Grand Raffle was $175,480 – both setting new records. Also of note, the Oral Auction, guided by Louise and Bill Stakelin and Tina and Bruce Ross, netted an all-time high of $193,350, and X-Travaganza held its first online auction. Thanks to Patti Sutter for her help with this new endeavor which achieved $37,600.
Many thanks to this year's Grand Raffle Chairmen Kathy and Tom Liguzinski and Rose and Butch Stertz, and their co-chairs Susie and John Lame who organized an army of parents, alumni and students to make phonothon calls in late January and February. They received a generous response from parents and alumni when they made these calls, and the end result was 2,324 ticket sales - the highest total ever! This year there were again three grand raffle prizes: $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000. The names on the winning Grand Raffle tickets drawn at the conclusion of X-Travaganza were 1st Prize of $20,000 was won by the Class of 1981; 2nd Prize of $10,000 was won by Chris Zepf ‘89; and the 3rd Prize of $5,000 was won also by the Class of 1981. The winnings of the Class of ‘81 will go into an endowed scholarship for use by future students of St. Xavier.
To each of the 900 adult volunteers who contributed in some way to the auction, i.e., working on one or more of the 24 committees, donating a gift, hosting a gift-gathering party, making a cash donation, buying a raffle ticket, we say THANK YOU! To the 50+ students who worked the night of X-Travaganza parking cars, checking coats, acting as oral auction runners and spotters, we thank you for your help. Thanks to each individual who contributed his/her time, talent and financial support to "An Italian X-scape."