Oracle Schools Foundation – June 2024

Celebrating Our Success!

Ann Vernon

Members of the Oracle Schools Foundation Spring Fling Gala planning committee met at the home of Ann and Nile Vernon to celebrate a successful event that raised over $65,000 to help support kindergarten prep and related educational programs in the Mountain Vista School District in Oracle.

This has been our most successful Gala ever, with 270 SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents attending the dinner and auction and bidding on silent auction items such as homemade desserts, soups, and appetizers, as well as numerous gift cards to local restaurants and businesses. After an excellent meal, guests engaged in very spirited bidding for live auction items such as a getaway to the Birdsong Casita in Sedona, an authentic Greek dinner, a weekend luxury hotel staycation in Scottsdale, and a timeshare in Hilton Head.

At the Gala we launched our fixed price events, a unique feature of this auction. Guests lined up, eager to sign up for a variety of fun events that are held throughout the year. There was fierce competition for seats at house concerts featuring local musicians (Sean Lewis, J.D. Loveland, Randall Dighton, and Dan Bergquist), a “Saddle Up Social” dine and dance party, several theme dinners, a bread making class, a wine tasting event, and a fiesta at a local hacienda!

There are still some fall events that have openings: a house concert featuring Randall Dighton, a house concert featuring the Catalina Chorale, a holiday event at a beautifully decorated home, an Everly Brothers Tribute house concert, and a house concert featuring talented performer J.D. Loveland. You can sign up by going to the website and clicking on fixed price items at

We thank all the SaddleBrooke and Ranch residents who contributed to the silent, live, and fixed price auction. We could not have such a successful auction if it weren’t for your donations. Thanks to all who attended the Gala to support such a worthy cause. If you would like to donate something for next year’s auction, contact Ann Vernon at [email protected]. This is a “goods and services” auction only. We do not take tangible items. Our “best sellers” are theme dinners, parties, and made-to-order food donations. Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 15, 2025, for the next Gala!

Oracle Schools Foundation Beer, Brats, and Barrio

Dana Eckhardt

On April 9, a gathering of donors for the Oracle Schools Foundation met at the home of hosts John and Linda Ansay for one of the fixed-price auction events. There’s no better way to enjoy a brats and beer bash than sitting on a patio overlooking the Catalina Mountains. All attendees were treated to a traditional Midwest feast with all the trimmings: brats, potato salad, baked beans, and more, all washed down with Barrio beers, wine, or nonalcoholic options.

As a matter of fact, Barrio Brewery (Arizona’s oldest brewery, 100% employee owned) was there for all to enjoy beer tasting with a sampling of some of their craft brews. It was a great time, and all enjoyed the feast and beverages, plus a chance to mingle with friends and neighbors of SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch.

This is just one example of over 20 fixed-price events that are offered by residents in conjunction with the Oracle Schools Foundation Spring Fling Gala. All proceeds support educational programs at the Mountain Vista Pre K school. There are still some great events (house concerts, parties) that are not full and will be offered in October and November. To see what is available and to sign up and pay, go to

A Taste of Greece

Gus and Karen Pachis, alongside Steve and Nan Kartsonis, opened their doors for an evening of Greek cuisine and philanthropy, all in support of the Oracle Public Schools Foundation. Generously purchased by Lindsay and Margie Nicholson at the Foundation’s annual fundraiser, the event proved to be a flavorful success.

The evening commenced with an outdoor appetizer experience, featuring the traditional Greek delight of Saganaki, where flaming cheese ignited the atmosphere with culinary flair.

Guests were treated to a meticulously crafted four-course meal, beginning with a tantalizing starter of chicken in filo, followed by the crisp and refreshing flavors of a traditional Greek salad. For the main course, attendees indulged in a choice between succulent lamb chops or the delicate sea bass el Greco, each dish bursting with authentic Greek flavors.

Entertainment wasn’t limited to the palate; Greek dancing lessons added an interactive element to the evening, with all participants joining in the lively spirit of the tradition. Opa!

As the night drew to a close, a sweet finale awaited with a duo of delectable Greek desserts, including the iconic baklava, leaving taste buds satisfied and spirits uplifted.

Not content with merely culinary delights, each guest departed with a personalized thank-you box filled with Greek pastries, a token of appreciation for their support for the Oracle Public Schools Foundation.

This evening of generosity exemplified the power of community and culture coming together in support of education, leaving a lasting impact on all who attended.

Lisalan Thai, Tom Walter, Cindy Clarke, Shannon Bews, Martha Breier, and Mark Poklar enjoyed food and beverages before the entertainment. (Photo by David Gulden)

Music, Memories, Munchies, and More

Janet Gulden

One of the many fixed price events associated with the Oracle Schools Foundation Gala and Auction was held on April 28 at the home of David and Janet Gulden with co-hosts Anne and Bob Hilton. Dan Berquist, a cocktail pianist and frequent performer at the MountainView and the HOA One Clubhouses, shared his amazing talent on the piano. As guests arrived, Dan played beautiful background music as everyone gathered on the patio for drinks, food, and conversation.

Afterwards, Dan entertained the audience with melodies, medleys, and mash-ups of favorite songs from the past. In the mash-ups, he creatively combined a classical piece with something more popular; a segment from Chopin mixed in with “California Dreamin” and “Hotel California.” Another favorite was Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Dan also played some very old tunes that several guests were able to identify. You won’t want to miss this event next year!

The Oracle Schools Foundation is a SaddleBrooke (HOA One, HOA TWO, and the Ranch) 501(c)(3) organization that provides pre-kindergarten funding (which the state of Arizona does not fund) and other academic opportunities to students in need. For more information about the foundation, go to and save the date for next year’s Gala on March 15, 2025. If you would like to donate to the silent, live, or fixed price auction, please contact Ann Vernon at [email protected] or 520-405-2622. We do not accept any tangible items—just made-to-order food items and services for the silent auction. Our fixed price auction events accept theme dinners, parties, and “how to” classes. Thanks to all who support the foundation.

Sean Lewis

For the Love of Music

Ann Vernon

As one of the fixed price events in conjunction with the Oracle Schools Foundation Gala/Auction, Sean Lewis, a SaddleBrooke resident, entertained 35 guests at the home of Ann and Nile Vernon on April 3. It was a beautiful night, and guests mixed and mingled as they munched on a variety of tasty appetizers prepared by the hosts: Ann and Nile Vernon, Barry and Mary Jo Swartzberg, Anne and Bob Hilton, and Sharon and Dennis Anderson.

Even better than the food was the music! Sean sang a variety of tunes we all know and love, along with some of his original hits from his recently recorded album. There was lots of toe tapping and singing along as everyone enjoyed the wide variety of music Sean performed.

The Foundation is so fortunate to have a talented performer such as Sean who donated his musical abilities to entertain us. He has many years of experience and clearly knows how to please an audience.

If you haven’t attended a fixed price event, you are missing out on some great experiences. We “launch” these events at our Spring Gala, but events that haven’t yet sold out are listed on our website at

Just click on fixed price events and you will see what is still available. All proceeds support educational programs at the Mountain Vista School in Oracle. Mark your calendars for next year’s event on March 15, 2025.