October 21, 2021
In Latin, OMNIA means all or entirety. It’s an impactful word with a large, expansive meaning. Its selection was intentional; the concept of this annual event is a CLHSA-wide gala to celebrate and support our schools and our entire community.
For the past two years, the ever-changing status of the pandemic, along with its accompanying regulations and societal shifts, were a constant threat to forward motion that was the vision of OMNIA.
When it finally became apparent that we would be able to hold the in-person event, the focus became how to create an event that lived up to its name — its expansive, sweeping, unifying name. How can we best create a sense of OMNIA?
Amongst the crowd of 350 people in attendance at The Cleveland Museum of Art on Saturday, October 16, a sense of OMNIA was present. With student greeters from both Lutheran East and Lutheran West holding the doors for guests, large-format photos and quotes from students at both schools, a beautiful video highlighting the unchanged mission of the CLHSA and its schools, and friends, supporters, and guests joining us from across Northeast Ohio and across the country — not to mention the vast and striking spaciousness of the Art Museum itself — the event’s intention of “entirety” spilled over from our hearts to the heart of all those present.
In truth, OMNIA also brings with it a sense of God’s kingdom and a celebration of the Christ-centered community of the CLHSA. God is all, He is entirety, He is the reason that our ministry exists.
If God is the reason our ministry exists, then His will coupled with the strength and resolve of our community of friends and donors are the reason our ministry grows and flourishes. At OMNIA, we were humbled to host 350 guests, who enjoyed a cocktail hour, silent auction, live auction hosted by Principals Mike Waugh ‘02 and Andrew Prusinski ‘02, live entertainment, dinner, dessert, and dancing -- all under the blue and red toned lighting that was selected as a subtle nod to our school colors.
The Distinguished Alumni Program recognizes alumni who have had significant success and/or notable impact in their professions and in their communities. At OMNIA, the CLHSA introduced the Distinguished Alumni Program with a hard copy booklet featuring 33 alumni spanning the long history of Lutheran East, Lutheran West, and the original downtown Lutheran High School.
Since 2001, Lutheran High School East has maintained an Alumni Hall of Fame. From this point forward, Lutheran East’s Alumni Hall of Fame inductees will be members of the school’s Distinguished Alumni. From 2001 through 2011, a total of 19 alumni were inducted. In 2021, we recognized 2 new Distinguished Alumni from Lutheran East.
At Lutheran West, the Distinguished Alumni Program is the first recognition of its type. This year, 11 alumni were honored as inductees. In future years, 4-6 alumni will be inducted per year.
At OMNIA, we were blessed to have 15 Distinguished Alumni join us in person: Cheryl Behm LW’71, Dr. Jean Cibula LW’83, Marcella Boyd Cox LE’72, Nathan Hessler LW’88, John P. Kellogg LE’69, Dr. Jessica Khouri LW’92, Richard Labus LE’61, Jan Morrison LW’73, Dr. John Raquet LW’85, Dr. Russell Raymond LE’71, Ewald Sems LE’62, Wally Senney LW’71, Judith (Luekens) Sherman-Macomber LW’60, Dr. Lynda Blackmon Smith LE’69, and Steven Strah LW’82. To read more about all of our distinguished alumni, visit LutheranEast.org/DistinguishedAlumni and LutheranWest.com/DistinguishedAlumni.
We’re pleased to share that the event raised significant funds to support students, families, and programs at our schools. Thank you to all those who made a contribution, whether through ticket purchases, auction bidding, Bids for Kids, sponsorships, or giving of their time and talents. Your gifts truly make a difference in the lives of our young people.
The CLHSA would especially like to thank the 2021 OMNIA Planning Committee: Charlene Coughlin LW’01 (Committee Chair), Debi Albrecht LW’85, Nancy Davis, Joe Gray, Regina Gray, Rick Labus LE’61, Diane McCarty LW’97, Ruth Ninke LW’65, and Stephanie Zehnder.
To view a photo gallery from the event, click here. Photos by Orville McEachron Photography.