Nearly 300 people prayed and partied with students and staff of Morning Star Catholic School at the 57th annual silent auction and fashion show, Runway for Giving. Children, family and friends conquered the catwalk in designer clothes from local boutiques, while guests discerned how to give of their time, talent, or treasure.
Sonni Abatta Orosz, former news anchor and current “mommy blogger,” was Mistress of Ceremonies for the event held at Loews Sapphire Falls resort on Feb. 21. The Annunciation Catholic Church parishioner began emceeing the show in 2015. Her husband, Andrew, is a graduate of Bishop Moore Catholic High School who participated in the Bishop Moore/Morning Star buddy program as a student.
“I wanted to get on the campus and get a feel for what they were doing before I got up to speak about it, so I took a tour of Morning Star… I was just really moved by what they were doing,” said Orosz. “I believe it’s worth investing in kids of all ages and abilities… It’s the right thing to do—to uplift members of the community who need the help. They are some of the most special people I have ever met. Their joy is contagious.”
Orosz, mother of 3, relates to other parents of children with disabilities “at the most basic of levels – love for their child.” She added, “I see the pride they have for their kids… I love seeing how happy the families are.” She appreciates being able to share events like these on her blog because it “connects people through motherhood and parenthood.”
Thomas Doyle, president of both Bishop Moore and Morning Star schools, explained the teachers who serve these children with special needs take care of mind, body and spirit. “The school educates the whole child,” he said. “Happiness, love and joy – that’s what our students and staff celebrate every day,” echoed Morning Star Principal, Sandy Cooney.
They also took a moment to honor and pray for deceased students and Sister of St. Joseph Nancy Keane, who died just one week before the event. Sister Keane and Sister Elizabeth Marie Stoup, S.S.J., were instrumental in getting Morning Star accredited 17 years ago. The school has grown from six students in 1960 to 70 today.
“Events like this are critical for what we do. It’s a form of evangelization,” said Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Orlando, Henry Fortier. “Although we’re here asking people to support financially, many of the people never know anything about Morning Star, our Catholic faith or even may not hear messages about God. But their friends are inviting them… they’re here and we get to share the Good News with them. To me, their contribution is a gift of dignity.”
Student Bobby is 17 and has attended Morning Star for 15 years. His parents, Joy and Bob, are great supporters. “It (Runway for Giving) brings the community together – a like-minded community with a like-minded end result for the benefit of the beautiful students of Morning Star,” said Joy. “It helps them be the best they can be and hopefully helps them obtain an independent or semi-independent adult life.” Bobby was paired up with friend and fellow student, Bonnie, for the fashion show. Dapper in his tuxedo, he said dressing up is worth it to “hang out” with his friends.
“Part of the overall, broad umbrella of respecting life is that we are respecting these beautiful creations of God and giving them the dignity they so deserve,” said Superintendent Fortier. “Sister Stoup focused on that from the very beginning. These students should be brought to the fullness of their humanity, which is what we are all called to do as saints.”
By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic – February 27, 2019