Report on Guanajuato Nights fundraiser

The fourth annual Guanajuato Nights fundraiser on 10 November 2018 was a big success! With ticket sales, raffle, silent auction, and live auction, the event had gross receipts of around $20,000. Frances “Faffie” Siekman de Romero, long-time friend of the Amigo Club and supporter of the sister-city relationship, matched the Amigo Club’s receipts by contributing another $24,000 to the scholarship fund. These funds will help support students from Southern Oregon University (SOU) who wish to study at the University of Guanajuato, and vice versa.

All photos below were taken by Jay Ach, Amigo Club Board Member At Large.

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The event began with socializing and bids on silent auction items that included ceramics, art work, jewelry, clothing, and painted lacquer boxes from Guanajuato and other parts of Mexico, and from local contributors.

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Volunteers Amy Lepon and Brad Hildreth sold raffle tickets, here to Lisa Zingarelli and Karen Grove, Amigo Club Vice President and web-site creator.

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John Morrison, on the left, won the raffle, but generously donated his half so that all of the raffle proceeds could go to the scholarship fund. John is a former mayor of Ashland. From left to right, he is joined by Clarissa Arrache, president of Guanajuato’s Amigo Club, Clarissa’s husband Luis Abascal, and Marian Telerski, former mayor of Talent.

2018 Guanajuato Nights 041The Amistad Program promotes the exchange of students between our cities. Administrators from both universities attended the event to show their support. From left to right: Sue Walsh, SOU Provost and VP for Academic Affairs; Linda Schott, SOU President; Erika Gonzalez, representing the University of Guanajuato President; Mary Gardiner, SOU Associate Director of Study Away & Global Engagement.

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Luis, Clarissa, and Erika, from Guanajuato, join Graciela “Señora Chela” Tapp-Kocks, former SOU professor who initiated the Amistad Program and sister-city relationship 49 years ago.

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Attendees enjoyed a Mexican-themed dinner of salad, chiles en nogada (traditional dish of poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo, covered with a walnut sauce, and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds), and desert flan. Wine was available for purchase.

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Faffie Romero de Siekman expressed admiration for the large attendance at the dinner and her continued support for the scholarship program and sister-city relationship. Each year, Faffie has matched the proceeds raised by the Guanajuato Nights fundraiser.

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Betzabé “Mina” Turner, Amigo Club President (right side of photo), welcomed to the stage Denise Baxter, creator of the Ashland mural in Guanajuato (completed in Spring 2018).

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Three long-time Amigo Club members received service awards for their varied and continuous contributions to club activities. Left to right: Suzanne Haveman, Marty Fabian-Krause, Marina Kendig.

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Also receiving awards were Josie Wilson (right), retired SOU professor who served as an Amistad program coordinator and spent time in Guanajuato teaching and recruiting Mexican exchange students, and Meiwen Richards (left), who has been a long-time program supporter along with her husband John, also a retired SOU professor.

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Ashland High School ambassadors Uma McGuire and Leila Kenner reprised the song and dance routines they presented in Guanajuato during their visit in June 2018. Each year, two students are selected and trained by Señora Chela.

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Jay Tapp served as auctioneer for the live auction at the end of the evening. There were six donations to the auction: (1) Romero family beach house in “San Pancho” Mexico, located about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta (donated by Faffie Siekman de Romero); (2) luxury home in Guanajuato (donated by Karen Gans); (3) vacation beach home on the Oregon coast at Waldport (donated by Sandra Sawyer); (4) home stay in Monterey, California (donated by Josie Wilson and Michael Belsky); (5) Hotel Villa de la Plata stay in Guanajuato (donated by Clarissa Arrache and Luis Abascal); (6) Spanish language classes and lodging for four at Escuela Mexicana in Guanajuato (donated by owner Haydé Lopez and her daughter Cybelle).

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Karen Gans described her fabulous home in Guanajuato that comfortably houses six people and that has been enjoyed by various Amigo Club members who have successfully won their live auction bids.

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Ashland mayor John Stromberg (right) joins Clarissa Arrache, President of the Guanajuato Amigo Club, and her husband Luis Abascal. Also attending were Ashland city councilors Stefani Seffinger and Dennis Slattery, and Ashland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra Slattery.

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Some more Guanajuato Nights attendees (left to right): Marcela, Ada Hodgen, Marta Sattler, Maria Lumbreras.

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Some more Guanajuato Nights attendees (left to right): Asifa Kanji, Laure Trickel, Karen Sue Smith.

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Some more Guanajuato Nights attendees (left to right): Lisa Zingarelli, Ron Rusnak, Lisa Lane, Tim Lane.

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Some more Guanajuato Nights attendees (left to right): Mike Mee, Peggy Mee, Marissa Stone, Dick Thomas.

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Mina Turner, Amigo Club President, and Faffie Siekman de Romero contributed greatly to the success of the evening.