When my number was called at the Big Blue Benefit

All it takes is ‘one’. And for Daisy Lew that ‘one’ was ticket number 329.

“I was planning to be there for the draw but due to a conflict I found out when the school contacted me the next day,” says Lew, mother of a Grade 10 student and graduate from the Class of 2019 at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).

That ‘call’ from the school was to let her know that the one ticket she purchased for the Big Blue Benefit and Lottery in 2018, out of the 1,000 tickets sold was --- the winning ticket. The reward? Free tuition for one year! 

“The news was icing on the cake to win this prize for something our family truly believes in,” she says.


For Lew, winning more than $19,000 – equivalent to a year’s worth of tuition--- “opens up additional opportunities for my kids, namely which post-secondary institution to attend. My son has aspirations to go out-of-province and this helps to pursue this goal.”

The school has held annual lottery and reception events since 2013 in support of the school’s Bursary Program. Since 2016, the event was renamed to Big Blue Benefit and Lottery.

According to their constitution, “The Basilians throughout their 196 years of existence have made it their special concern to serve the poor in their need for Christian education. We must do all we can to see that our schools do not exclude the poor, and in all of our apostolates that we do not compromise with any form of social injustice. We must be sensitive ourselves and ready to awaken the consciences of others to drama of human misery and to the demands of social justices made by the Gospel and the Church."

Fr. Leung drawing the winning ticket at the Big Blue Benefit & Lottery

Fr. Andrew Leung, CSB, Interim President of St. Michael’s College School adds, “the Basilian Fathers of St. Michael's College School established a bursary program in 1997, initially in the amount of $200,000 annually. The bursary program has grown to over $2 million per year.”

The funds provide bursary assistance to new and current families who qualify, to help offset the cost of tuition and/or incidental fees.

“Since 2014, we have been able to award 11 bursaries from the lottery proceeds, averaging approximately two bursaries a year,” says Kimm Bailey, Director of Advancement at SMCS.


The Big Blue Benefit and Lottery was born in 2016, combining both a lottery component with an evening reception at the school --- providing an opportunity to bring the SMCS community together. The average proceeds raised from the lottery since its inception total $40,200.

SMCS community enjoying themselves at the Big Blue Benefit & Lottery event

For Daisy Lew, participating in the Big Blue Benefit and Lottery in some way, remains a priority. “We made a commitment to rally around a great institution and help where we can,” she says. “The fund raising is important to maintain the high level of education which would help plan for the future.” 

And then there are the intangibles of participating in the annual event, which for Lew and her family is, “the feeling of belonging and being part of a community during key formative years for my boys.”

She plans to buy at least one ticket again this year. You just never know!


$490,000+ Amount raised through the Big Blue Benefit and Lottery since 2013
13,000 sq feet School space transformed to accommodate the Big Blue Benefit and Lottery (Centre for the Arts lobby, Robert Campeau Lecture Hall, Cafeteria, Cenotaph & Chapel hallway, and a classroom)
1,900 SMCS community attendees since 2013
1,000 Big Blue Benefit lottery tickets available for purchase
135 Restaurants which have donated food and catering services
10+ Assorted prizes for students, classrooms and homerooms with the most tickets sales

Ticket sales for the 2019 Big Blue Benefit and Lottery begin on Tuesday September 17.

The Big Blue Benefit event takes place on Wednesday, November 20 in the 
SMCS Centre for the Arts.

For lottery and event ticket purchase and more information: bigbluebenefit.com