By LARRY DEVINE
Carroll Daily Times Herald
Boosted by this year’s $563,505 success, the 34th annual Friends of Kuemper Ball has soared past the $10 million milestone.
The annual fundraising campaign for Kuemper Catholic School System that began 34 years ago by raising $97,282 has now generated more than $10 million.
The wrap-up of the 2018 campaign was celebrated at the new Kuemper Field House, which was transformed, Kuemper Catholic Schools President John Steffes said, “into a fun and glamorous venue.”
“Everyone was amazed at how this multipurpose facility became even more multi-functional to help advance the mission of our school,” Steffes commented. “The Kuemper Ball is the most-well-known fundraiser in the diocese and region.”
At the field house, which opened last spring after being built with nearly $1 million from the Kuemper Tomorrow capital campaign, the program was led by the Ball’s chairpersons — Jake Gute, Aaron and Jessica Nepper, Jeremy and Tina Schechinger, Mary Schon, and Tim and Barb Toohey.
The chairpersons said in a statement following the Ball, “We were so happy with the turnout of Kuemper supporters. More than 900 meals were served, with many more people in attendance. We heard nothing but positive comments about the food, the entertainment and the transformation of the new Kuemper Field House into an elegant Ball venue.
In their letter in the Ball program, the chairpersons said of the theme, ‘“Generations of Pride’ pays tribute to the significant role that Catholic education has played in this community for many generations. Since the first Catholic school opened in Carroll County in Mount Carmel in 1847, Catholic education has been changing lives and impacting our families and our communities.”
Today Kuemper has an enrollment of more than 1,060 students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Alayna Hansen, Kuemper Ball coordinator and also Kuemper’s annual giving and alumni director, said, “2018 is one for the books with a new location and surpassing a major milestone this year.”
Hansen praised the work the chairpersons put into the campaign.
“They had the inspiration to host this year’s event at the Kuemper Field House and they have outdone themselves,” she said. “A building that was meant for student activities was transformed into a stunning event center.”
Over the years, funds generated by the Ball have been used for an array of needs in the schools. Most recently, money netted from last year went to enhancing teacher pay, technology, generating operating fund, roof replacement, new windows on the south wing of the high school, tuition assistance, critical capital needs and more.