Zach Harrietha knows first-hand the impact Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas can have.
Two years ago, as a high school student at the DSBN Academy in St. Catharines, Harrietha and his graduating classmates each received a $250 bursary from the fundraising gala.
Now, the second-year General Sciences student is hoping to give back. Along with fellow Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas organizers from the Brock Leaders Citizenship Society (BLCS), Harrietha aims to continue the tradition of providing bursaries to students who will be the first in their family to attend post-secondary education.
The gala, which encourages guests to stray from a traditional black-tie dress code in favour of more casual denim options, takes place Saturday, Feb. 2 at Club Roma in St. Catharines from 6 to 11 p.m. Those in attendance will be treated to live entertainment, a three-course meal and the chance to bid on multiple items in a silent auction.
Harrietha said the support the event offers bursary recipients goes beyond a financial boost.
“It’s a sigh of relief,” he said. “It helps financially and shows first-generation students there are other people in the region who want to support them. There is a community here that is ready to help them succeed while they continue their education.”
Denim, Diamonds and Diplomas has raised more than $60,000 for bursaries since the event’s inception in 2016. Harrietha and the BLCS team are optimistic they will add another $20,000 to the total this year.
The team hopes to accomplish this fundraising goal through general ticket sales, a silent auction for those in attendance and a $5 raffle for a diamond ring from Jewelry by Michael that is open to anyone. Tickets for the raffle can be purchased during business hours in Brock’s Student Life Involvement Commons (MCA 204).
“We need more people to come out in their best denim, and we have lots of available tickets,” Harrietha said. “We want to support and grow the region by helping the next generation of leaders.”
Tickets for the gala are available until Friday, Jan. 25 and are $65 each or $600 for a table of 10. Tickets and additional information are available on the Education Foundation of Niagara’s website.