Viatorian Associates Romeo and Deborah Perez were at the center of a star-studded night Saturday, when the St. Viator School Foundation held its annual dinner. They were among three couples honored for their involvement and commitment to Catholic education. Joining them at the podium were Eilane and Jon Lim, and Judyann Price and Michael Boccadoro.

Associates Deborah and Romeo Perez

Viatorian Associate John Keating, President of the Foundation, presented their awards, and one after the other, the stories of their hands-on efforts for the school were inspiring.

Take the Perez couple. Deborah taught kindergarten at the school, but she also carried on a program where students regularly pack lunches for the homeless. When her two children reached middle school, she suggested bringing students in Campus Ministry over to the Three Square food bank to volunteer.

At the same time, Romeo, a local attorney, has been a confirmation leader for many years, he is active with the parish’s men’s group, and both have been involved with Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts at the school.

The couple joined the parish in 2005 and volunteering helped them spiritually as well. In 2013, they made their first commitments as associates and they continue to look for ways to advance the Viatorian mission.

“Romeo, my family and I are so grateful for the time we have spent with the Viatorians,” Deborah says, “from the school to the parish, you can feel the Viatorian spirit in the way faculty and staff journey with families.”

(L-R) Fr. Richard Rinn, Rossi Ralenkotter, Fr. Larry Lentz, Fr. Edgar Suarez and Fr. Mark Francis

This year’s event was the 35th annual fundraiser sponsored by the St. Viator School Foundation, and it drew more than 450 people to the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas. Guests ranged from current and past school families, as well as Viatorian associates, brothers and priests.

Every year, the dinner raises money to fund capital improvements on the school’s campus. Since a group of parents started this fundraising arm of the school in 1998, its yearly dinner and auction have contributed nearly $2 million to the school’s budget.

While the event is first and foremost about raising money, it also underscores the commitment to Catholic education by St. Viator Parish and the Viatorians themselves.

(L-R) Marisa Bello, Principal of Our Lady of Las Vegas School and St. Viator Principal Katie Kiss with Associates Rosy Hartz, Bridget Michlik, Deb Perez, Kim Martinez and Kathy Keating

“The Viatorian commitment over the decades to Catholic faith and education,” adds Deborah, who serves as Director of the Corporate Work Study Program at Cristo Rey St. Viator, “has left an indelible mark in the Las Vegas Valley, and everywhere alumni go.”