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Shamrock ’N Roll celebrates 20 years of inclusion at Paul VI

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Shamrock ‘N Roll, the annual auction and benefit dinner at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, was held March 16.


Hosted in the school’s Panther Activity Center, 330 people attended the sold-out event. Attendees bid on more than 160 silent auction items, and were treated to a performance by the Boyle School of Irish Dance and Irish music courtesy of Merlin’s Beard Band.


The night was a time for the community to come together in support of the school, and this year was extra special. The event celebrated 20 years of the Paul VI Options program and honored the six founding families: the Alonsos, Armitages, Harringtons, Lees, Mitchells and Rashids. All six families were represented that night and four of the six original students in Options were able to attend, as well as the program’s first teacher and first director.


During the night, attendees raised their paddles to support a new fund at Paul VI created in memory of Laura Lee ’02, one of the six original students in Options. Both as a student and an alumna, Lee advocated for people with intellectual and other disabilities. She passed away peacefully in her sleep in 2016.


To honor Lee's memory, the Laura Jean Elizabeth Lee Memorial Options Fund will strengthen the Options program and ensure it will continue as a model for other schools that want to start similar programs.


The generosity of those attending, and of Lee's family, who offered $25,000 in challenge gifts, led to a $126,000 start to the fund.


“While the Options story unfolded to be one of great impact and success, it is only because of the willingness and passion of the Options founding families who tirelessly worked to build something remarkable,” said Ginny Colwell, head of school. “As with anything new, the fear of the unknown existed. How lucky are we that this fearless group showed us that the unknown was exactly where we needed to go.


“Options has helped shape PVI into who we are today: a community built by the efforts of many, steadfast in their commitment to the spiritual, academic, physical and social development of our students, of all of God's children. I have no doubt that the future of Options is bright.”




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019