Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topeka Fiesta Royalty Candidates Raise $77,587 for Holy Family School

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Topeka Fiesta Royalty Candidates Raise $77,587 for Holy Family School

Article excerpt

A trio of 2016 Topeka Fiesta Mexicana royalty candidates raised $77,587.15, mostly through nine weeks of food sales, to support Holy Family School.

From April 25 to June 25, King Oscar Gomez, Queen Alexis Garcia Newman and Princess Lorena Morales Aquino, their families, friends and other volunteers prepared and sold Mexican food from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday in the Marlo Cuevas Balandran Activity Center, 216 N.E. Chandler St.

That is the same place where, Tuesday through Saturday, those attending the 83rd edition of the fiesta will pick up food orders and dine in air-conditioned comfort at a fundraiser for the school. Holy Family School is jointly administered and backed by Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 201 N.E. Chandler St., which stages the fiesta, and St. Joseph-Sacred Heart, another Oakland neighborhood parish that produces its own ethnic festival, Germanfest, to support the school.

In her speech Saturday night at the coronation ball in the Kansas Expocentre's Agriculture Hall, Newman recalled her three weeklong turns in the center's kitchen, where she saw her supporters "peeling mountains of potatoes while looking like zombies and then see them come in the next morning" to do it again. It made her "realize the true meaning of commitment and love," Newman said.

Her family is well-schooled in the fiesta royalty process. Newman's sister Chelsea was queen in 2013, and her brother Michael's reign as fiesta king ended with Gomez's coronation Saturday.

"Some people have asked me why I would run since my family had already done it twice," Newman said. "To answer them I say, why not? Why not give back to the people that started you out? Why not do as much as you can, helping others in the amount of time God gives you here on earth?"

The daughter of John and Debra Garcia Newman and a Shawnee Heights High School senior, Newman recalled how the Rev. Gerardo "Jerry" Arano-Ponce, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, said when a person dies, their headstone is engraved with the date of birth and the date of death, with a dash in between. …

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