Around & About: Bluejay Jamboree a record fundraiser -
Published Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 1:51 pm
Around & About: Bluejay Jamboree a record fundraiser
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The 26th annual Bluejay Jamboree dinner and auction, the largest benefit event for Creighton University’s athletic programs, broke a fundraising record Nov. 3. More than 600 guests raised $475,000 at the event, “All in the Bluejay Family,” which was held in the D.J. Sokol Arena.

Chairmen of the jamboree were Dan O’Neill, president of First National Bank, and his wife, Alison. New to the event this year were electronic bidding devices that allowed guests to bid on items and track their bids while in their chairs or perusing other auction items. The devices were provided by First National Bank.

Approximately 150 student athletes from the basketball, tennis, golf, baseball, soccer and dance teams volunteered for the event.

More than $30,000 was raised for the Father Lannon Scholarship Fund, which is an endowed scholarship fund for athletics. Top auction items included four seats on a private jet, hotel room and tickets to the Men’s Missouri Valley Conference finals, selling for $11,000, and two dinners with men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott that sold for $6,400 each.

The Creighton Pep Band provided music before the event, and the Bozak and Morrissey band played for dancing.

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At the 12th annual Roncalli Catholic High Tea, more than 350 women turned out to be serenaded by Michael Walker, “the Vintage Vocalist.” The Nov. 4 event raised more than $20,000.

Instead of a guest speaker like in years past, Walker sang throughout the 2˝-hour event, simultaneously acting as the master of ceremonies. His playlist features songs that bring to mind the mid-1960s Rat Pack, such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “It Had to Be You” and “Beyond the Sea.”

Ten-year-old Emma Spizzirri from St. Patrick School in the Elkhorn area sang the national anthem. She attended the event with mother Sarah (Sutton) Spizzirri, a 1993 graduate of Roncalli, and grandmother Brenda Sutton.

The High Tea is a long-standing Roncalli tradition. Each year, Rummel Gymnasium is transformed into a giant tea room. The traditional high tea luncheon was catered by Pleasure Your Palate and Roncalli alumnus Ted Thomsen (1976). Scones with clotted cream and homemade plum jam were made by Roncalli culinary arts students. Lady Grey Tea was provided by the Tea Smith.

More than 50 students volunteered for setting up the tables and decorations, serving guests during the tea and cleaning up afterward.

* * *

Pottawattamie County children from newborn to age 5 were beneficiaries of the recent Wicker & Wine Basket Auction.

Matt and Lisa Gronstal were honorary chairmen for the Nov. 1 event, which was held at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. The evening featured both live and silent auctions, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, plus a program and video showcasing the life-changing work of the Pottawattamie County Center for Healthy Families.

More than 300 people attended, raising more than $70,000. The money will go directly toward the center’s operating expenses.

The Pottawattamie County Center for Healthy Families is a program of Lutheran Family Services. Its mission is providing early intervention and prevention programs to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect.

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Final plans are under way for the Lauritzen Gardens Guild’s holiday brunch and annual meeting, which will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5 at the botanical center.

The event will start with viewing the beautiful holiday tablescapes by Omaha-area designers, followed by brunch and the annual meeting.

Featured speaker will be Mary Carol Garrity, owner of Nell Hills, retail stores that have led the way in the decorating world. Garrity will give tips for stylish holiday decorating and entertaining.

Tickets are $40 and reservations are required. Holiday Brunch chairwoman is Cindy Hanley and Guild president is Connie Kinnear. For more information about the luncheon or for reservations, call 402-346-4002, ext. 221; or go to

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A kick-off celebration and orientation for the Food Bank for the Heartland Friends board was held Nov. 14 at the Food Bank. New members met Food Bank staff and took part in a brief orientation session and tour of the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Officers are Jayne Timmerman, president; Shelley Siemers, president-elect; Kim Reeves, treasurer; Mary Kerr, secretary; Melissa Marvin, adviser; and Cindy Hansen, staff liaison.

For more information on the group, contact Cindy Hansen at 402-905-4810 or visit

* * *

Southwest Omaha Rotary Night Club raised $30,000 at its fourth annual wine tasting event for the Boys Town National Hotline on Oct. 11.

Darcy Michalek led the event with co-chairmen Brian Brunken, Kristi Guinn, Mimi Rogers and Brad Rohrig.

Music was provided by violinist Rick Ness, pianist Mark Sanford and the band Sexy But We’re Not.

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