For the past 14 years, Melissa Murphy, Director of Special Events at Saint Ignatius High School, has coordinated and executed the annual Scholarship Drive. While she has seen a lot of changes over the years, one thing remains the same--the funds raised during the Scholarship Drive go directly to our students through tuition assistance.
For the five-week period of the drive, Murphy relocates her office to Rade Dining Hall to provide easy access for students to turn in tickets and find assistance. There, she and her team process the more than 100,000 tickets that are sold during the drive.
"I couldn't pull off this drive without the help of our moderators, volunteers, students, alumni and parents," Murphy said. "The volunteers are amazing - they are here from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. collecting turn-ins, tearing up the online stubs and counting the deposits." Murphy also gives credit to MaryBeth Flynn from the Advancement Department who has run the drive with her for the past six years.
"MaryBeth does the lion's share of the work making sure every step of the purchasing process to the ticket collection is seamless. None of this would be possible without her."
Faculty moderators are a big part of student motivation during the drive as well. This year, history teachers Dave Cicetti and Alex Voigt have teamed up again to lead the drive. With their guidance, students receive encouragement and assistance to sell their quota of 60 tickets each.
"The student quota is 60 tickets. We give them each 70 tickets and so many students take out additional tickets knowing that if they look to their left or their right a fellow receives tuition assistance and this drive helps provide that."
Last year, the Scholarship Drive brought in a total of $559,000 towards tuition assistance. Murphy is constantly impressed with the efforts of our student sellers, especially those who earn top seller status. Richie Santiago '19 was the top seller during the 79th Annual Scholarship Drive, selling a record-setting total of 1,729 tickets. That means he singlehandedly brought in $8,645 toward tuition assistance in only a few weeks.
"The top sellers go above and beyond," Murphy said. "It seems the top seller as a freshman continues to be the top seller all four years, bringing in about $20,000 at the end of their four years."
One of the biggest changes over the years was introducing online sales. Starting in 2010, tickets were sold online to residents in Ohio in an attempt to make the purchasing process easier and more user-friendly. According to Murphy, online sales increase by about $25,000 each year.
The culmination of the drive includes inviting a special guest to pull the winning tickets. Past guests have included NFL quarterback Brian Hoyer '04, head football coach at the University of Tennessee Tom Arth '99, UFC World Champion Stipe Miocic and Saint Ignatius High School's oldest living alumnus Larry Kelley '32 on his 100th birthday. But Murphy has a favorite special guest of her own.
"My favorite special guest was Fr. Frank Canfield, S.J. when he dressed in the Wildcat costume," Murphy said. "He ran around the Sullivan Gym pumping up all of the students up and surprised everyone when he took off the mascot head to reveal his true identity."
The Scholarship Drive and the Saint Ignatius High School Christmas Concert with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus bring in a combined $1 million towards tuition assistance.
The 80th Annual Scholarship Drive will conclude on Friday, March 2, 2018. The drawing will take place at Saint Ignatius High School at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live through the Saint Ignatius Broadcast Network.