At the April 21 St. Justin School Annual Benefit, attendees can bid in live and silent auctions, take selfies at a photo booth and dance the night away. The food, from A Catered Affair owned by St. Justin alumni Bob Changres, will present hors d’oeuvres such as dates with blue cheese wrapped in bacon and crispy asparagus with Asiago cheese. The sit down dinner will offer entree options including pomegranate orange short ribs and portobello stacks.
Typically St. Justin School’s Annual Benefit is held at the school. But this year’s Annual Benefit will take place at Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose. Organizers are expecting a huge crowd because George Santich, a teacher at St. Justin School, will be honored that evening.
A Santa Clara resident, Santich has taught at St. Justin School for 48 years. Prior to that, he taught at St. Lawrence Academy for two years. Santich has racked up 50 years of teaching service in Santa Clara’s Catholic school system.
“Mr. Santich is a man who has dedicated his life into making a difference in children’s lives,” said Karen Suty, Principal of St. Justin School. “I’m really excited about this fundraiser. We’re bringing back people who were in the first graduating class of St. Justin, which is 1965. St. Justin School opened in 1958.”
Santich is so well regarded in the school community that more classes beyond the first graduating class are expected to attend the fundraiser to honor him.
“It’s like a mini class reunion of classes over the years,” said Candida Diaz, St. Justin School’s Development Director. “Some alumni have moved out of state and they’re coming back here just to honor Mr. Santich. We created the George Santich Endowment for St. Justin School and all proceeds from the event are going to the endowment. We’re getting money from the ticket sales and we’re selling raffle tickets and we’re having a silent and live auction. We’re hoping to raise at least $100,000. The endowment will fund scholarships for students at St. Justin and for the school’s athletic program.”
“They had to twist my arm to do this,” said Santich with humility. “I knew the endowment is for the kids so I said okay. I’ve got a good part of my family coming.”
Santich has taught a number of subjects at St. Justin School, including science, math and computer classes. About eight years ago, he retired from full-time teaching. He currently teaches an algebra class to eighth graders. He also serves as the school’s co-athletic director. He coaches football, basketball, track and girls flag football. During the summer, he volunteers his time to organize a free basketball camp for St. Justin School students and alumni.
“The happiest kind of memories is when you see the light turn on for something you’re trying to teach somebody, when you make that connection with students, when you help switch a light on in their brain,” Santich said.
John Faylor, St. Justin alumni, current school parent, and former San Francisco 49er, will be attending the fundraiser. Also coming is Kevin Moore, St. Justin alumni, former Santa Clara Vice Mayor and City Council Member. Lisa Gillmor, Santa Clara Mayor, will be presenting Santich a Certificate of Special Mayoral Recognition.
Tickets for this year’s St. Justin School Annual Fundraiser are going fast. Visit www.stjustinschool.org/auction for ticket orders and more event information. Visit www.stjustinschool.org/endowment for information about the endowment.