At the President’s Dinner, an annual event in which the school thanks its champions for their continuous support of the school, President Simon Chiu paid tribute to two special families.
Rob and Cathy Avon were presented with the St. Andre Bessette Service Award, which honors members of the school community who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the school’s Catholic, Holy Cross mission by volunteering their time and sharing their talents with Saint Francis. In addition, Barry Eggers and his family — wife Meredith and children Andrew ’12 and Natalie ’14 — received the Holy Cross Heritage Award, which recognizes distinguished benefactors who are passionate about the mission of the school.
In addition to honoring these remarkable supporters, individuals who have contributed significantly to Saint Francis financially this year were inducted into the school’s lifetime giving societies.
View highlights from the President’s Dinner at the bottom of this article.
Rob and Cathy Avon
Mr. and Mrs. Avon first became involved at Saint Francis as eager parents who wanted to support their children’s school and be involved in their activities. Now, nearly twenty years later, with their last child graduated from college and gainfully employed, Mr. and Mrs. Avon remain more involved at Saint Francis High School than ever.
Mrs. Avon is a volunteer extraordinaire and a community leader. Over the years, she has donated her time to the Women’s Club, Christmas At Our House, the President’s Dinner and most recently, the Saint Francis Board of Directors. One reason why Mrs. Avon is able to accomplish so much and make it all look so effortless is that she firmly believes in the immeasurable good that comes when we band together in pursuit of a common goal. As she often says, “the Saint Francis family is amazing. You just have to ask and this community will deliver tenfold. The results are always far greater than I could ever imagine!”
Mr. Avon has been just as committed and has been a wonderful ambassador for the school. Each summer, the school holds several meetings for newly accepted families, and one year, the Avons agreed to host one of these meetings in their home. To the new parents in attendance, Mr. Avon offered heartfelt and impassioned remarks about how special the school is and why it was important to support Saint Francis. Completely unplanned and off the cuff, Mr. Avon beautifully captured how his family had been enriched by their connection to Saint Francis, and his remarks were a powerful endorsement for new families.
“I’ve been told that the Avon family is planning a graduation party to mark the end of Cathy’s term on the Board of Directors. Let me just say now, Cathy and Rob, you may be graduating, but there will always be a seat for you at any table here at Saint Francis,” said President Chiu.
Barry Eggers and Family
Mr. Eggers, as the chair of the SF Growth Fund, thought to include Saint Francis in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when he and his firm invested in Snap, the maker of the popular social media app Snapchat. As it turns out, his interest in the company was spurred by a conversation around his kitchen table with his own children and their friends from Saint Francis, so the invitation was a natural next step for Mr. Eggers. Snap received its first seed money back in 2012 from Lightspeed Ventures and Saint Francis High School. From this investment, Saint Francis earned an astounding return that is sure to transform the future of the school and impact generations to come, all because of Mr. Eggers’ generous decision.
Throughout the months leading up to the announcement of the school’s investment in the company, school administrators were asking themselves how to best make use of this money for students and to ensure the legacy of the school.
“Barry would always remind us that while this was an unprecedented moment for the school, it should not change our core values; rather, it was a rare opportunity to shine a light on all that we do best and inspire us to dream big. He was always patient with us, but in his heart, he wanted us to realize the transformational power of this investment,” said President Chiu.
Mr. Eggers has offered his leadership to the school in many other ways. He is engaged in helping Saint Francis think about big plans for its future. He also recognizes that his children had excellent experiences with their teachers and coaches while they were students at Saint Francis, and he remains passionate about the SF EDGE Fund, an endowment fund created to provide annual bonuses for the dedicated employees of Saint Francis. In addition to chairing the SF Growth Fund, Mr. Eggers also serves as chair of the SF EDGE Fund.