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Annual Dinner and Auction Event
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The San Mateo High School Foundation's 11th Bearcat Benefit, Magic of Mateo, held on October 10th at the breathtaking Bayview Dining Room at the College of San Mateo was truly MAGICAL in every way!

180 Bearcat community members came together to experience a truly unforgettable evening, which included:  Bravo Reception (where attendees were treated to delicious hors d’oeuvres, signature cocktails & complimentary drinks all night, VIP bags & mellifluous performances by the talented SMHS String Orchestra, Bella Sinfonia); Rare & Exotic Silent Auction items that ranged from an exquisite rose gold Kern’s necklace to an exclusive tour of ABC7 News Studios; a Photo Booth complete with fun props; A gourmet dinner buffet; An exciting Live Auction led by Bearcat parent & auctioneer Kerim Otus featuring both popular favorites like the Science Department Surf & Turf Dinner & new items such as Dinner for 8 with Celebrity Chef Martin Yan; Outstanding Performances by SMHS Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Advanced Dance students; and finally, dancing with fellow Bearcat friends!

Thanks to the TREMENDOUS success of this year's Benefit, which raised more than $150,000 through individual & business sponsorships as well as ticket sales, silent and live auction proceeds, the Foundation can continue to support important programs that directly benefit SMHS students and staff, from essential classroom supplies and critical technology improvements to professional development opportunities for teachers. More than $18,000 was collected for this year's Fund-A-Need, a set of Chromebooks for checkout to those SMHS students who lack the technology resources at home to succeed academically.

It takes a village to put on an event of this magnitude successfully, and first and foremost, the Foundation extends heartfelt thanks to our Benefit Chairs this year, Chemi Lo & Isabelle Bushman for their tireless efforts and hard work in leading an outstanding team of volunteers.

Countless dedicated volunteers made this event the incredible success it was and while there are too many for us to list everyone in this article, the Foundation extends special thanks to the following individuals who were key to the Benefit: 

Vicky Wong for heading the corporate sponsorship team, who collectively brought in 18 corporate sponsors this year; Amy McHugh for heading the family & individual sponsorship team, who collectively secured more than 50 family and individual sponsors this year; Sandra Sun, Vicky Wong, Mark & Carolyn Chandler, Isabelle Bushman, Chemi Lo, Diane Hong & Carol Hee who, along with other dedicated members of the auction solicitation team brought in a record number of auction items; Jeanette Otus for heading silent auction basket assembly and graciously allowing her home to be transformed into auction central for more than a month; Helen Sellers, Bob Kayne & Natalie Esposto, for all their help with publicity for the event; Pierro Margallo for all his continued help in designing the logo for the benefit year after year; Christine Semenza for putting together a meticulous Benefit Program Brochure; Iling Tang, & the rest of her team for transforming the Bayview Dining Room into a truly magical venue; Carol Rossi for organizing a memorable Bravo reception; Bearcat Student Quinn Hughes, for entertaining the attendees with magic illusions; Will Stein & Joe Lo for making our computers speak the language of Auction software; John Kowtko for all his help with AV and sound for the presentations and performances; Patty Hsiu & Eric Stein for capturing the beautiful moments of the benefit with their amazing photography; Sara Cowey for coordinating  the Bearcat mascot for the evening & Student Arthur Umerov for being the amazing mascot; Diane Hong and her team, including Eunice Rim, Jenny Lin, Shikha Hamilton & Saswati Paul for handling checkin with ease and skill; Alumni parents Julie Borden, Tina Jin, Jean Tom & Tom Oey, who, with current parents Jennifer Low, Maryanne Ribi, Eudora Ting & Cecilia Hirano made the complicated and chaotic process of auction input and checkout a breeze; Our dynamic auctioneers Kerim Otus for making Live Auction exciting & successful, and Mark Chandler for heading the Fund a Need presentation; Stacy Rose, for supervising the performers; Til Tribuzi, for enabling the SMHS String Orchestra to perform at Bravo; Robyn Tribuzi for enabling Advanced Dance to perform at the benefit; Shawn Reifschneider & Don Harper for directing the SMHS Concert Choir and Chamber Singers performance at the benefit; Student helpers Alyssa Cho, Tiffany Tang, Lauren Young, Kiki Lo, Preston Lo, William Lin & Ethan Low for giving up their Saturday to help with all aspects of the benefit; and most importantly, Foundation Treasurer Junko Tanaka & Board Administrator Julie Borden for being the lifelines of the Foundation!

The Foundation extends a special thanks to Principal Yvonne Shiu, Assistant Principals Jesse Boise & Adam Gelb and ALL the Teachers and Staff, who not only attended the benefit in numbers, but also contributed generously to the silent and live auctions!

We would also like to thank all the Foundation Board members this year who have worked tirelessly for the success of this benefit.

On a final note, we are deeply grateful to our sponsors and donors for their generous support!  If you were not able to attend the Benefit and would like to contribute to this year's Fund-A Need and/or would like to make your Fair Share contribution to the Foundation, please email

Finally, please click on the link below to see the video that was shown at the benefit which describes the various programs & resources funded by the Foundation over the years in an entertaining manner!

Bearcat Benefit 2014:
Bearcat Benefit: Bearcat Boulevards
Read all about it and see the pictures.
Bearcat Benefit 2013:
Bearcat Benefit: A Command Performance
Read all about it and see the pictures.
Bearcat Benefit 2012:
Bearcat Benefit: Vote for Bearcats 2012: A Resounding Success!
Read all about it and see the pictures.
Bearcat Benefit 2011:
Bearcat Benefit: VIVA MATEO! was a huge success!
Read all about it and see the pictures.
Bearcat Benefit 2010:
Bearcat Benefit: Building for the Future was a huge success!
Read all about it and see the pictures.
Bearcat Benefit 2009:
Magic of Mateo Back to Basics with the Bearcats was a huge success!
Read all about it and see the pictures.
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