Ursuline caught up with Mardi Gras chairs Kim Blades Askew '93, Kelly Moore Cook '85, and Wells Gibbons Housson '93. The Diane and Sam K. Smith Family are this year's honorary chairs.
Being a Mardi Gras chair is a big undertaking. What made you say yes to this role?
Kim Blades Askew: "I have so many fond memories of my time at Ursuline. These were the most formative years of my life, instilling a commitment to excellence, a desire to serve others, and a love for my fellow sisters. Having the opportunity to serve in this role and help to raise scholarship money to give other young women the same experience I had is truly a privilege."
Kelly Moore Cook: "Wells is a very close friend, and she wouldn't take no for an answer. Ha! Seriously, Ursuline has given me numerous gifts in my life including a wonderful education for myself and three of my four daughters (one is in 7th grade). Ursuline gave me incredible friends who divide life's sorrows and multiple the joys, a stronger Catholic faith, and the love of Serviam in my heart."
Wells Gibbons Housson: "We are so supported by the school as well as the community. I think feeling that support really helped me say yes. Also, I remember when Mardi Gras started in 1991. I've watched it evolve over the years, from volunteering as a student, to attending as an alumna and then as a parent. To be a small part of this legacy that has raised so much money for so many deserving girls is an honor and a privilege."
What are you working on right now?
KA: "Our primary focus right now is spreading the word about Mardi Gras, the event, and emphasizing that 100 percent of net proceeds raised goes to funding financial need-based scholarships. Our current efforts include obtaining sponsorships and other various gifts from generous donors that make this all possible."
KC: "We just had the Mardi Gras Past Chairs' luncheon. We introduced the Diane and Sam Smith Family. It was a wonderful event."
WH: "We have a meeting about decorations and Big Board this week. We have also been putting together some great packages with our live auction team."
How did you come up with this year's Mardi Gras theme?
KA: "I have two awesome co-chairs that threw out Havana Nights, and we ran with it. The three of us tend to think alike and how can you not enjoy an idyllic night in Havana?"
KC: "Wells showed me a Pinterest board she created with lots of fun ideas, and I loved it immediately. My push was for the car as our logo."
WH: "Because Easter is later this year, our event is too. We thought it'd be fun to have a theme that reflected spring time and warmth. We were also drawn to the colors and vintage feel of Havana Nights."
What are some things we can look forward to at this year's event?
KA: "Besides a delicious Cuban inspired dinner menu, dancing, and casino, you can look forward to some great silent auction items, and some exciting live auction packages to bid on. You won't want to miss it."
KC: I'm very excited about several of our live auction items that offer unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. There will be a great variety of items to bid on. The online silent auction will be expanded this year, and Big Board is going to be amazing."
WH: "We have hired a new band which got great reviews. I'm really excited about this. We're also coming up with some fun signature cocktails and appetizers that reflect our theme."
What are your Mardi Gras goals?
KA: "We want to make Mardi Gras an enjoyable night to remember. Our primary goal, however, is to meet or exceed last year's unprecedented fundraising efforts which would allow the same number of girls to receive scholarships to Ursuline."
KC: "My goal to enjoy this opportunity to Chair Mardi Gras and exceed our fundraising goals thus enabling more deserving girls to come to Ursuline on scholarship."
WH: "This is the first time that three alumnae have co-chaired Mardi Gras. We want more alumnae participation this year, and as always, our goal is to have a really fun event that raises money for scholarships."