St. Mary’s Academy hosted its annual Food For Thought event Dec. 8, raising more than $500,000 for tuition aid.

Held on the Portland State University campus, the day featured a con-versation with former Women’s National Basketball Association player Lisa Leslie, viewed in person and online. For the first time, the in-person audience included the full St. Mary’s Academy student body, faculty and staff.

Leslie, a three time WNBA most valuable player, had 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Sparks. She was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game.

Leslie, now a coach and television commentator, answered questions from junior Sofia Bell and senior Sydney Kate Cottrell.

Leslie discussed her faith in God and her belief in the importance of hard work and goal setting. She encouraged students to be courageous and keep moving forward after failure.

“Leadership is an action,” she said. “It’s how you show up every day.”

St. Mary’s Academy estimates it will provide more than $2.25 million in financial aid for the 2021-22 school year to 44% of families.