To know a special needs person is to share an instant friendship. The bond is one of love, laughter, inspiration and challenge. St. Michael Special School celebrates the privilege of knowing a special person as a blessing and welcomes students age six through school graduates to learn and work at its facilities.
On March 31, the school held Chefs’ Charity for Children at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside to raise funds for the school’s operation. The annual luncheon, along with the upcoming Blue Rose Ball on October 4, raises about one-third of the school’s operating costs. Guests were served specialties from white hat magicians Andrea Apuzzo, John Besh, Frank Brigtsen, Leah Chase, John Folse, Goffredo Fraccaro, Emeril Lagasse, Gunter Preuss, Greg Sonnier, the Wong Brothers and David Woodward. The chefs donated all food and their time, shutting down their own kitchens for the day to participate in the event. Assisting in serving were volunteers of the Ladies’ Guild and a few of the school’s graduates who now work at Joy Center, St. Michael’s assemblage of woodworking, craft and balloon experts. Besides eating, there was a parade of prizes and everyone received cookbook favors. Georgine Bienert, a staff member and parent of alumni Maggie, says the event is always fun and essential to the school’s upkeep.
The school is currently undertaking a $3.5 million fundraising project, the first campaign since the school opened in 1965, with founder Sister M. Lillian McCormack, S.S.N.D. The focus of the present is funding a new building for the vocational students, which, with help from St. Michael’s friends, should be finished around Thanksgiving.
Stephanie Donovan, Brenda Breck and Dianne Walet
John Besh, Leah Chase, Tommy Wong and James Wong