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Celebration of Achievement 2019

May 2 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Buffalo Prep’s Annual Celebration of Achievement presented by M&T Bank took place Thursday, May 2, 2019 at Kleinhans Music Hall to honor Buffalo Prep’s largest class of graduating high school scholars as well as its steadfast and loyal supporters in the community.

Over 500 guests were in attendance as each graduate announced where they would be attending college in the fall and their plans for the future. In addition to announcing the recipient of the inaugural Buffalo Prep Distinguished Alumni Award, this year’s event was particularly special because the organization is celebrating its 30th year in Buffalo.

Four student scholarships were announced, including the National Fuel Gas Company Foundation Scholarship, which awards three college scholarships of $15,000 per year for four years to Buffalo Prep graduates majoring in engineering, information technology or finance.  This year’s recipients were Pablo Guzmán (Nichols School ’19) attending Pace University, Jordan Jackson, (St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute ‘19) attending University at Buffalo, and Charles Morrison (St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute ’19) attending Davis & Elkins College in the fall.

The seniors are graduating from local high schools, which include Buffalo Prep’s partner high schools that award more than $500,000 in scholarships and financial aid to Buffalo Prep students each year.  All have been accepted to college and will attend institutions such as Howard University, University of Southern California, and Rochester Institute of Technology.

The first annual Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Luis A. Rodriguez, Jr., Buffalo Prep Class of 1997.  Rashida Dowell, Buffalo Prep Class of 1998 and Vice President, Business Banking Operational Risk Manager at M&T Bank, presented the honor.  Luis is the Chief Executive Officer of Rodriguez Construction Group and mentors and employs Buffalo Prep graduates.

Taylor Lewis, Nardin Academy ’19, kicked off the program with a rousing rendition of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”  Buffalo Prep’s capital campaign co-chairs, Jock and Betsy Mitchell, also announced that Buffalo Prep has raised more than $2 million for the Prep for Tomorrow Capital Campaign, making the move to Allen Hall on the University at Buffalo South Campus a reality.  Buffalo Prep will move into its new home in 2020.

The Celebration of Achievement raised more than $260,000 from local corporations, foundations, individuals and partner schools and surpassed its goal of raising $30,000 the night of the event, which was generously matched by Unifrax LLC. This year’s honorees were M&T Bank and the Children’s Foundation of Erie County. The event’s major sponsors include Presenting Sponsor M&T Bank, Match Sponsor Unifrax LLC, and Celebrating Achievement Sponsors Uniland Development Company and Norman & Thuy Murray.  Ashley Rowe, well-known anchor for 7 Eyewitness News, emceed for the evening.

Click here to learn more about our high school scholars!

For further information, please contact Christina Jurasek Schneemann, Director of Development, at cjurasek@buffalo.edu or 716-829-2148.

Thank you to our Celebration of Achievement Event Committee and Sponsors!

Event Chairs: Michael and Alex Montante, Luis and Jessica Rodriguez

Honorary Event Chairs: Alphonso and Marcia O’Neil-White

Karen Baker – Kristin Bauer – Dina Benderson – Molly Boscarino – Brigid Doherty – Gail Ettaro – Anna Hartog – Stephanie Katzman – Randilyn Kimelberg – Dr. Shelley Kimelberg – Christen Smith – Maureen Tomczak – Sasha Yerkovich

Presenting Sponsor

Match Sponsor


Celebrating Achievement Sponsor

Norman and Thuy Murray

Celebrating Achievement Registration Sponsor 

Realizing Dreams Sponsors

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York – Crowley Webb – Delaware North – Hodgson Russ LLP – David and Shelley Kimelberg – Jock and Betsy Mitchell – NOCO Energy Corp. – The Park School of Buffalo – Rodriguez Construction Group

Inspiring Young Minds Sponsor

David Donovan and Kevin Lennon – Kathie A. Keller – Keller Technology Corporation – National Fuel – The O’Neil-White Family

Reaching Potential Sponsors

AAA Western and Central New York – Alpha Kappa Boulé – Arc Building Partners – Karen Baker – Todd and Dina Benderson – Brigid Doherty and René Jones – Education Collaborative of Western New York – First Niagara Foundation – Imagine Staffing –  Independent Health – Mower – Nixon Peabody LLP – Park Edge Sweet Shoppe – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP – Remedy Intelligent Staffing – Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center – SelectOne Search LLC – Toshiba Business Solutions – University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education

Reaching Potential Partner School Sponsors

Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart – Buffalo Seminary – Elmwood Franklin School – Nardin Academy – Nichols School – St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute

Reaching Potential Auction Area Sponsor

Allegheny College

Reaching Potential Coat Check Sponsor

Five Star Bank

Cocktail Hour Sponsor

Try-It Distributing Co., Inc.


May 2
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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Kleinhans Music Hall
3 Symphony Circle
Buffalo, NY 14201 United States
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