Mount St. Mary Academy will host its annual Chrysalis Auction, presented by Casella on Saturday, March 12. In honor of the event going back to being in-person, the glittering celebration will be held at The Historic Wurlitzer Building in North Tonawanda. The theme for this year is “Together Again: Red Carpet Style.”
Chrysalis is chaired this year by Giorgio and Lisandra Panepinto of Grand Island. Their daughters, Alena and Giavana, are currently juniors at Mount St. Mary Academy. The Panepinto family has a strong connection to the school, as many of its relatives include Mount St. Mary Academy alumnae.
The event, beginning at 5 p.m., will bring together friends of the school from across the region and from around the country. Women and men representing many generations of the Mount St. Mary Academy family will gather to support the school and the education which drives its mission.
Two of the many students impacted by the school’s largest fundraiser are Kallista Bertini of North Tonawanda and Madelyn VanDusen of Tonawanda. Both young women are sophomores at Mount St. Mary Academy and will speak to the audience on how financial support from benefactors of Mount St. Mary has helped shape their experience at the school.
Bertini is part of the Thunder cheerleading team. She is a member of the award-winning virtual enterprise student run business Fly by Fashion, and loves crocheting adorable characters which she sells for her small business. Bertini was also selected by MSM to participate in a national gathering of students called the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Conference (HOBY). Bertini is a standout honors student.
“I really truly just love the people. I have made so many new friends since coming to this school and they are all just such genuine people,” she said.
VanDusen is also a member of the cheerleading team, and transferred to Mount St. Mary from Sweet Home for her sophomore year. One of the standouts in her application is that she is self-driven and has a deep care for helping others. She has a desire to be at MSM and contribute to her community by being a leader, while earning a high academic achievement. VanDusen is a standout honors student who is also taking Advanced Placement classes.
"When I decided to transfer schools, I was immediately drawn to the warm and welcoming environment when I visited Mount,” she said. “Although changing schools sophomore year was incredibly challenging, Mount has given me opportunities that make all of those challenges worth it. I have gone on a trip to Los Angeles, joined fun extracurriculars, and participated in trade shows that are some of my favorite experiences yet. I am only six months in, and I've made lifelong memories and attained tons of experience and new knowledge!"
Chrysalis, started in 1995, is Mount St. Mary Academy’s keystone fundraising event. Organizers noted, “The funds raised provide for new programs and equipment ensure an affordable and equitable education for all students, make way for improvements to the facility, as well as help to bridge the gap between tuition and the school’s operating budget.”
“Here at Mount St. Mary Academy, we look forward to Chrysalis each year. Seeing our family, friends, and fellow alumnae from the community come together to support our beloved school is such a blessing,” said Stephanie Ohol King Class of 2005, director of development.
Organizers explained, “The nature of the auction process allows everyone associated with the event to choose their individual comfort zone and participate at whatever level they choose.”
Some of the top auction items include a full-size Buffalo Bills helmet signed by quarterback Josh Allen; tickets to the Notre Dame vs. Navy college football game; and a lavish, five-course dinner for eight to Giancarlo’s.
Tickets for the auction are $125 per person, and available for both in-person attendees, and guests who choose to participate virtually through a mobile bidding platform. Virtual guests who purchase tickets have the option to pick up their meals on the day of the event, or be sent a basket full of Buffalo-themed items from partners at CityMade. Reservations can be made and raffle tickets can be purchased online at www.msmacademy.org/support/chrysalistickets.