On Thursday, March 3, the Catholic Academy of Bridgeport held its first-ever hybrid event: a Roaring 20’s Dinner & Auction at Woodway Country Club. More than 120 people gathered in person – and dozens more tuned in virtually – as the Academy honored longtime Board member Marylou Queally Salvati and the Tauck Family Foundation. Through a live auction and paddles-up, the school raised over $420,000 for need-based financial assistance for the 85% of its students who qualify for it. To celebrate this fete, paper butterflies were released to coincide with the events “Rise Up” theme.
“I was very moved by the number of people who came out to support CAB and who gave generously, including the 70% of guests who were here with us for the first time,” said CAB Executive Director, Angela Pohlen. “To be together enjoying great food in a festive atmosphere and with a fantastic program, all while helping our worthy students, was a blessing.”
Highlights of the evening included music by the BackCountry Jazz BeBoppers and 2015 alumna Asha-Gaye Lewis’ firsthand testimonial of her time at the Academy. “My parents came to the U.S. from Jamaica but my father died here when I was just one year old, leaving my mother a widow raising three children.” Lewis attended public school in Norwalk until 4th grade when her family moved to Bridgeport for financial reasons. “My mom was concerned about sending me to public school there because she had only heard negative comments, but then she heard about [CAB] from my Aunt whose son had graduated there and had a really positive experience. My mom was concerned about paying tuition at a private school but she prayed about it and we were able to get financial assistance. I cannot stress how grateful I am to her for applying to and sending me to [CAB] because it was the beginning of a great future.”
While at CAB, Lewis was elected class president beating out a pool of seven other candidates, all of whom were male. After graduating, she went on to Lauralton Hall and then UConn, where today she is studying to be a Physician’s Assistant. “Each donation tonight is worth more than a dollar sign. It means everything to young girls and boys like me who just want the chance to have the best education possible and to dream big,” Lewis said.
Later in the evening, Pohlen presented Salvati with a beautiful custom-made tray to acknowledge her decade-plus years of service to the Academy, including her Chairing the Board’s Development Committee and also her Chairing many of CAB’s Ladies Luncheons and all of its spring galas.
“Whether reviewing a finance report, giving development advice, or doing a Costco run for our Golf Classic guests – despite not being a golfer herself – Marylou gives 110%, and it doesn’t stop there. Give her the chance to tell someone new about the good work of CAB and she is on it. She believes in our children, she believes in our mission, and she has a deep desire to help us be the best version of ourselves every single day. If it is true that leadership sets the tone for an organization, then you can see why our children are in such good hands.”
Following, Board Chair John Kreitler presented the Tauck Family Foundation with the Foundation of Distinction Award. CAB has been part of TFF’s social investment portfolio since June 2018, and because of the Foundation’s support, CAB has been able to work with a leading consultant to implement the Yale RULER program and social-emotional learning throughout its four campuses, hire and work with three different first-class consultants in the areas of enrollment, development, and leadership training, and increase community-building events with parents and families, among other things.
“We would like to thank Tauck for giving us the tools and resources we need to greatly improve the lives of our students and their families and to profoundly impact our entire CAB community,” said Kreitler. Accepting the award on behalf of TFF was Interim Executive Director Kim Hein.
CAB educates 900 boys and girls on four campuses in Bridgeport, 83% of whom live at or below the poverty level. The Academy offers a safe, nurturing alternative to Bridgeport public schools, boasts rigorous academics, provides free breakfast, snacks, and lunch to students each weekday, and offers a strong enrichment and after-school program. To learn more, visit www.catholicacademybridgeport.org.
We are so grateful to all of our gracious and generous supporters who attended both virtually and in-person. CLICK HERE to see photos from the event!
CLICK HERE to listen to Marylou Queally Salvati’s award presentation.
CLICK HERE to listen to the Tauck Family Foundation’s award presentation.
CLICK HERE to hear Academy students’ wonderful performance of “Rise Up” by Andra Day.