Spend an Evening in Old Havana with Morning Star School
September 19, 2019 • Savanna Kearney

The 8th Annual Gala & Auction for the Diocese of St. Augustine’s Morning Star School will raise funds for children with learning differences and intellectual disabilities on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Haskell Building, 111 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville. This year’s theme is “Havana Nights.”

Enjoy Cuban-inspired tapas and cocktails, casino games, dancing, cigars, an auction, and much more. General admission tickets cost $75. For an additional $75, you can sponsor a teacher or parent. Other sponsorships are available from $250 to $5,000.

A Casino Tropical will feature craps and blackjack tables. A Cigar Bar will showcase Julio Cordero, a master Cuban cigar roller who worked in the family tobacco harvesting business in Cuba. He will hand-roll cigars with tobacco leaves grown in Ecuador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic.

 If you can’t make it to the gala, you can still bid on items from home. Click here here to bid on items beginning Sept. 28 and get a sneak preview of auction items, including Disney tickets, Jags tickets, a photography portrait session, wine sampling and much more. To request a bid account click here.

“Proceeds from this year’s Gala are directed towards our Annual Fund which helps ‘bridge the gap’ between the actual cost to educate a child with learning differences and intellectual disabilities and the average tuition. Our “gap” this year is $2,450 per child,” said Maria Johnson, director of development for Morning Star.

 Because the school has a unique model – 12 to 1 student-teacher ratio – tuition alone only covers about 80 percent of the actual cost per student. The remaining 20 percent is obtained through grants, donations and fundraising events such as these.

“Many of the children we serve have few school options. We have a responsibility to provide all children with an opportunity to enjoy school, to thrive, succeed, and earn a high school diploma,” said Johnson.

To donate, become a sponsor, or buy tickets, click here. To learn more about the gala, email development@morningstar-jax.org.