Most people don’t give to get recognition. But often those who benefit from the gifts enjoy recognizing the gift and its giver. That’s the idea behind 1885 Society at St. Mary’s High School.
The 1885 Society is a way to honor donors who have given a significant gift to the St. Mary’s Catholic Education Foundation during their lifetime or who have included St. Mary’s High School or the foundation in an estate plan, said Bill Carter, president of the foundation board.
“Most people are humble and don’t want to be shined on,” Carter said. “But this is something simple and doesn’t shine too bright a light on any one person.”
At the end of January, the 1885 Society held its first reception at the home of LeRoy Landhuis. About 40 society members attended and were given a label pin to recognize their membership in the group.
Charles Pavlica, St. Mary’s class of 1968, was one of those in attendance. Pavlica said he’s been contributing to St. Mary’s since the late 1980s, so it seemed only natural to include the school in his estate plan when he made it in 1996.
“It’s important to me to support my community,” Pavlica said. “I volunteer at the Marian House and work in my local parish. So this was just another way to support the community.”
While Carter believes the idea of the 1885 Society has been around for a decade, the reception and membership pin were the first activities that brought recognition to it.
“It’s a positive thing to do,” he said. “The reception was phenomenal and set in such a beautiful venue. The whole thing has been well thought out.”
Carter said he anticipates the reception will be an annual event, held each January during Catholic schools week.
During the reception, John Kraus, president of St. Mary’s High School, shared with the new inductees some recent student successes including a phone call received earlier in the day from the National Institutes of Health. The NIH will highlight St. Mary’s AP Biology class and the students’ work on protein folding in an upcoming publication.
“The work of the Foundation and donations made to the 1885 Society lead directly to success in the classroom. Our students know this and appreciate this”, said Kraus.
Anyone interested in joining the 1885 Society should contact Matt Walter, vice president for development, at 719.635.7540 ext. 38.
By Amy G. Partain
Communications Associate, St. Mary’s High School
Below (from left to right): Bob Jones, Leroy Hoelting, Rose Ann Golobic and Mike Smith enjoy the inaugural 1885 Society reception, held Jan. 31.