San Miguel Program held its annual Scholarship Dinner, Defying the Odds, on September 30th, 2021 at Westchester Country Club. With last year’s event virtual, there was an extra special energy at the Club, where the event has been held annually since 2011. To keep attendees as safe as possible from the Coronavirus, the event was held out-of-doors. The silent auction and cocktail hour took place on the terrace of the club overlooking the golf course, and dinner was under a large tent which easily accommodated 300+ guests. It was a perfect early-fall evening to be outside, and the sunset sky did not disappoint! San Miguel students and a few graduates greeted guests, talked about their experiences with the program, and showed off two beautiful new crew boats, which were recently donated by Arshay Cooper and the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund.
Each year, we single out those who have been especially impactful through their service to San Miguel Program to receive an IMPACT award. This year’s honorees were Marilyn Netek and her late husband, Rudy, who have been active and generous supporters of San Miguel since its inception, Rere Corocran, who supports organizations such as San Miguel through her business, ReRe Jewelry, and Craig White II, rowing coach for St. Benedict’s Prep and founder of Brick City Rowing, which is working to make the sport accessible to the youth of Newark, NJ. Several San Miguel graduates have been coached by Craig at St. Benedict’s Prep.
Each of our Impact Honorees has made a tremendous difference to our program. Father Mark Connell, founder, SMP executive director, and director of the Graduate Success Program: “Our IMPACT Awards recognize not just financial contributions, but those of service and time because that is what it takes to keep us alive. Without their selfless work, and that of so many others, all of these young men and women would not be defying the odds stacked against them.” The success of San Miguel is completely dependent on people like Marilyn and Rudy Netek, Rere Corcoran, and Craig White, who share their time, their talents, and their generosity, and inspire others to do the same. Our volunteers and benefactors are truly the heart of our organization. Watch the video to learn more about our honorees and the A Most Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund.
Na’sah Dabbs, San Miguel Academy Class of 2017, who graduated from Canterbury School in 2021 and is now a freshman at Boston College, gave the keynote address: “I am where I am because I was given the opportunity to ask questions. Asking questions made me a better student. Asking questions made me more compassionate. Asking questions made me a leader. Asking questions made me a better person. Asking questions made me, me. Your generosity influences every student to continue to ask questions and helps them to break the cycle of poverty through education.”