Irish the theme at annual fund-raiser

Patrick Kossler, 2, waits for his St. Patrick’s Day dinner Sunday at the Clovis High School cafeteria. The dinner was sponsored by the Sacred Heart Altar Society. (Photo by Loretta Kos)

By Michelle Seeber

More than 850 people celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday by raising more than $5,000 at a dinner for Sacred Heart Altar Society at Clovis High School.
The altar society’s annual event drew families, friends and couples, who sat at tables decorated with cloverleaf centerpieces.
Waiters and waitresses wore green in keeping with the holiday’s colors.
“We had a full house here,” said Anita Fite, one of the organization’s members who helped take tickets.
She said the event has been held annually for about 30 years.
Lucille Conley, president of the altar society, said dollars generated by ticket sales would be used to buy supplies for the altar at Sacred Heart Church.
Altar supplies are used for Mass and include the host, wine, incense and other items, such as ceremonial crosses.
“At times, we also are asked to support a person in need in the community, and we have a scholarship each year for a girl and a boy,” Conley said. “The scholarship is $200 for each one.”
Cyndy Roanhaus and her husband Eric were among the couples at the feast.
“This was our first year to eat here,” Cyndy said. “It was wonderful.”
Cyndy said she won tickets for the event at a drawing at Yucca Junior High School, where she is the school nurse.
Lillye Toliver of Clovis, who is of Irish ancestry, attended the dinner with friends.
“My great-grandmother was an O’Neil, and her husband was a Scotsman,” Toliver said. “The rest are English, and I’m proud to say I’m 1/16 Cherokee.”
Asked if her great-grandmother passed down any Irish traditions, Toliver said, “Yes, cleanliness. My mother said she was the cleanest lady she’d ever been around. As a little girl, I remember walking into her bedroom and seeing lace curtains gently blowing in the wind. The bedspread was white.
“I have a picture of her, and she was a beautiful woman,” Toliver said. “Her name was Anna.”
Among the guests were the servers, students from Clovis High School and a student from Gattis Junior High School.
Steffanie Michaels, 16, said she got $2 in tips, which she shared with a friend.
“It was fun,” Michaels said. “I liked it. It think I’m going to be a waitress.”
Said Sonia Chavez, 14, another server: “We do the fund-raisers to help our church youth group go on trips.”
“I mostly took out the trash, while everyone else did the waiting,” said 15-year-old Joe Surima.
At a table next to the servers sat Gerald and Pauline Spahr and their son, his wife and their two children.
“We’re here every year,” Pauline said. “We never miss it. Our boy and his family are here from Lubbock. We go to church all the time, and on St. Patrick’s Day, we want to be here.”
“It’s such a nice gathering,” Gerald said.
Jeanne Kriegshauser, 75, of Clovis said she had been helping at the dinner for 30 years.
“We used to have it at Sacred Heart Church, then moved over here, because we were having nice crowds,” she said.
Kriegshauser said St. Patrick was a “special saint.”
“He was a bishop who converted Ireland,” she said. “The claim is he drove the snakes out of Ireland.”