Please join us for the School of St. Mary Annual Crusader Gala!

Saturday, March 9
6:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Immediately following 5:00 mass, so we can walk from church to Deer Path Inn together!

Deer Path Inn
255 E. Illinois Road 

Sparkly Cocktail Attire Encouraged!

Why does SOSM host an Annual Crusader Gala?

We host the Annual Crusader Gala to support the Crusader Fund and grow together as a community. The Parents Association’s goal is to raise $330,000 this school year, with 100% parent participation. The funds are used for:

  • Scholarships that allow students to have a School of St. Mary’s education;
  • Faculty who love and care about our students and who are skilled educators; and
  • An environment that makes successful education possible.

How will the Gala raise money for the Crusader Fund?

The evening will feature a paddle raise and live auction to help us support the Crusader Fund. Stay tuned for more details about the incredible live auction items!

We’re holding our annual silent auction – which will be online Saturday, March 2-Sunday, March 10 – so anyone can participate in supporting the Crusader Fund, even if you can’t make it to the Gala. The auction will include a range of amazing items, including “Count Me In” sign-up parties, generously donated by the School of St. Mary, Church of St. Mary, and Lake Forest community. 

You can also support the Crusader Fund by joining the raffle to win one K-8 2024-25 school year tuition or $5,000 cash. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 15, and the winning ticket will be drawn at the Gala (but you don’t need to be present to win). Get your tickets at! (Please refer to all raffle rules and guidelines as posted on the School of St. Mary’s website. The purchase of raffle tickets is not tax-deductible per IRS regulations.)

Who should attend the SOSM Annual Crusader Gala?

Everyone is welcome – school families, parishioners, family & friends! We encourage anyone who loves supporting the School of St. Mary to join us, so our community can continue to thrive!

How much are the tickets?

Tickets are $225 each until Friday, February 16, when prices increase to $250 each. In addition, tables of 10 seats can be purchased for $2,250 – and then you can fill the table with your family & friends. Only one person needs to buy the table, and we’ll follow up to get names of everyone joining you.

When will tickets go on sale?

Tickets go on sale Thursday, January 18. Buy your tickets before they sell out! 

What do the tickets include?

Tickets include open, premium bar (6-11 p.m.); a delicious dinner; DJ & dancing, and live auction excitement. The ticket price covers the expenses associated with hosting the Gala, so the evening will feature a paddle raise, live auction, and other activities to generate donations to the Crusader Fund.

Can we reserve seats with friends?

You can purchase a table of 10 to reserve seats with family & friends. If you purchase individual tickets, the Gala committee will randomly assign seats.

What should I wear?

We recommend sparkly cocktail attire!

Where is the Gala being held?

We’re hosting the Gala at a local favorite, Deer Path Inn.

Will there be entertainment?

Yes — we’ve enlisted a DJ to spin your favorite tunes …. from disco and the 80s to Taylor Swift and country faves.

How can I get involved and help?

The Gala is organized by SOSM volunteer families, and they’d always love help with event planning, outreach to help secure auction donations, and raffle ticket sales. Please reach out to the co-chairs and let them know how you can help! Michelle Kijek (312.952.0220) and Bridget Leffingwell (847-450-4940)

How can I learn more?

You can reach out to the co-chairs at any time: Michelle Kijek (312.952.0220) and Bridget Leffingwell (847-450-4940).

What Are Count Me In Parties?

Count Me In Parties raise support for the Crusader Fund, while also offering fun and social engagement as a community. We’ve heard from parents that they love having more opportunities to socialize and connect with other families – and last year, nearly every Count Me In Party sold out quickly!

Count Me In Parties are fun and creative events with a fixed buy-in price. There are parties for kids and adults, and some events are designated for specific grade levels (check the descriptions closely). The party hosts have generously agreed to assume full cost of the parties, so 100% of proceeds benefit the Crusader Fund. THANK YOU to our incredibly generous families and teachers for the creative and fun ideas this year!

We hope you can join this memorable evening filled with delicious food, fun entertainment, and live auction excitement!

The Annual Crusader Gala is a long-standing school tradition for school and parish families to support the Annual Crusader Fund with their generous donations that help ensure our students, teachers, and faculty have the resources they need To Learn. To Serve. To Lead.