Saint Martin’s University annual gala, which took place on Saturday Nov. 3, raised over $1.3 million for scholarships that will go to help well over 1000 students. This year’s event featured celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi offered tribute to the cuisine of Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands. The event also featured traditional Hawaiian dances from Saint Martin’s students and both a silent and live auction, and a speech from Saint Martin’s alumni Chantal Arevalo. Every year, students from Saint Martin’s volunteer to help at the Gala, helping with all aspects of the event from set-up and auction spotting to sign-holding and serving. Some of the Belltower staff included their favorite moments of the Gala and described their jobs at the event.
Kaycee Selga, layout assistant for the Belltower, shared about her experience.
“This is my second year volunteering at the annual Saint Martin’s University Gala. Every year students sign up to volunteer, and this year, surprisingly, there was a waitlist. Luckily, I was able to solidify a volunteer spot as a silent auction runner. I presented an Ukulele, a cultural musical instrument originating from Hawai’i. Although this was my only job at the Gala, it was exciting to stand next to a carbon fiber Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe as guests entered the event, and asked me about the canoe and what it was. I have paddled in Hawaii with a local paddling organization called, the Hui Wa’a as a hobby every summer for six consecutive summers. I shared all my knowledge about that hobby from my home, the state of Hawai’i, island of O’ahu. It is a great opportunity to meet and see the people who are so generous to donate money to help raise funds for student scholarships. Without this event, I would not be here able to attend school in the Mainland.”
Photographer Jenna Gerber described her volunteer experience at the Gala, “This year was my first year participating in Gala, which was really special since the theme was ‘Hawaii and Pacific Islands.’ Being that I am from Hawai’i, I felt extremely proud to have been able to take part in this huge event, not as a volunteer, but as a dancer. I was fortunate enough to be one of the girls to dance hula for the Gala guests. Displaying our culture for others to enjoy while taking part in this huge event was something I’ll remember for years. My favorite part aside from dancing was watching the live auction!”
Bethany Montgomery, Editor-in-Chief of the Belltower, was excited to volunteer at the Gala a third time. “My freshman year I helped served appetizers during the silent auction, but my sophomore and junior year I signed up early enough to be able to volunteer for jobs that I got to dress up for. There aren’t a lot of opportunities to dress up in college, especially at an event as nice as the gala. Working at the coat check this year was pretty interesting because those of us working were the first students the guests saw when they walked in and the last ones they saw when they left, making our job pretty important in forming their overall impression of the students. It was also amazing to see the generosity of the donors in person during the auction, many of them haven’t met us, but are helping put us through school.”
Writer Olivia Alvord was also excited to serve at the auction this year. “I volunteer for the Gala so that students with backgrounds like mine will have a chance to go to college because without the scholarships that we raise at the Gala, many students would not be able to attend Saint Martin’s. This is such an amazing opportunity that we are able to provide for our students and what helps build such a strong community here. This year I volunteered at the coat check station and I was also one of the students that got to assist during the alumni speech and the ‘feed-a-mind’ bidding. I am proud to be a face for this wonderful university. Saint Martins has provided me with so many opportunities that I didn’t think I could have, so I am happy to give back for future generations.”