Saint Viator High School’s biggest fundraiser, its Night of the Lion gala, returned to the school and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A crowd of 350 people – including current and past parents, alumni and two tables of the Viatorians — filled the Cahill gymnasium for the formal dinner and auction.

Mr. Ryan Aiello, left, with his wife Kelly, meet Principal Jon Baffico and his wife, Tiffani

Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, Interim Chief Administrator, opened the formal portion of the evening by welcoming guests. It was Fr. von Behren who first introduced the Night of the Lion to the school, back when he served as president, from 1999 to 2005.

“To attend this gala event is a testament to the love and care you have for our school,” Fr. von Behren said, “and of our shared mission of providing a Catholic, college preparatory education to young men and women who enter our doors each day.”

Fr. von Behren then introduced Saint Viator’s newly named president of the school, Mr. Ryan Aiello. Though he was announced in March after school officials conducted a nationwide search, Saturday was the first time the school community had the chance to meet him.

“I am so blessed to be here tonight celebrating the Saint Viator community,” Mr. Aiello said after being introduced. “This is a truly humbling moment for me, and I am so excited for our future.

Viatorians included, (clockwise from left) Br. Peter Lamick, Fr. Dudley Pierre, Br. Marc-Innocent Prophete, Fr. Daniel Hall and Bishop Christopher Glancy

“I echo the words of Fr. Tom. I believe our best days are ahead of us,” he added, “and together we’re going to move our school to even greater heights.”

Most recently, Mr. Aiello served as principal of Eastside Catholic School in suburban Seattle, and he brings nearly 20 years experience to the role, serving as a teacher, coach and administrator. He also has worked in partnership with Eastside’s president, in the areas of admissions, development, marketing, finance, planning and governance.

“Mr. Aiello is a mission-focused, student-centered visionary whose approach to leadership has been described as highly collaborative and consultative, wanting to ensure that all voices are heard,” said Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, Provincial and  President of the Board of Governors of the school. “His energy and enthusiasm for education are matched by his devotion to the Catholic faith.”

Br. Carlos Florez, left, flew in from Las Vegas to attend.

Guests warmly received Mr. Aiello and his wife, Kelly, who mingled with guests before sitting down to dinner. The event included a silent and oral auction, as well as a paddle raise, all of which were very successful. Afterwards, school officials announced the event had raised more than $600,000, which is earmarked for tuition assistance.