Working to get there

Christine Todd
Christine Todd shows off a six-pack cooler that came with a gift certificate for Our Market. Photos by Ralph Stewart

By Eleni Collins - November 8, 2007

Two-seventy-five! Sold!" auctioneer Ken Goldberg belts out, and Stephanie Pavao is all smiles. She just won a trip to a New England Patriots preseason game plus two extra tickets, next season with teacher Jean Holenko. And, at the same time, she donated $275 to the Oak Bluffs School class of 2008's trip to Philadelphia.

The dinner and auction held last Saturday night was the third of four fundraisers to raise enough money to send the class on their annual, weeklong fieldtrip in June. The trip includes a Broadway play on the ride down, a tour of the famous Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, and several days in historic Philadelphia.

The fundraising for this class began on Fireworks night this past August, when students and parents sold popcorn. Then on the school's Open House night, the class organized and hosted a spaghetti dinner. Aside from the auction, most recently the students sold wrapping paper from the Sally Foster Company. Half of the profits made by the eighth graders will go to their trip fund. Still to come is the annual Christmas Bazaar at the school, but for this class, the big event is over.

Deborah Hammett
Deborah Hammett works the mike at the auction to benefit the Oak Bluffs school eighth graders.
A lot of work goes into fundraising events such as an auction, bazaar, or dinner. Planning for the auction began when the class of 2008 was in seventh grade. They received packets asking them to collect auction items over the summer. The students responded positively, and there were more than 60 live auction items and 20 for the silent auction.

Once received, the items had to be divided into silent and live categories, as well as door prizes. For the actual event, in addition to the eight-person committee, other parents were enlisted to take tickets at the door, cash out, and, like Christine Todd, perform the duty of Vanna White.

"The auction is probably the biggest fundraiser," says Deborah Hammett, the co-chair of the auction committee who is also a third grade teacher and parent of an eighth grader. "It was a major team effort. We had more than half of the eighth grade parents participating in one way or another."

In addition to the parents, the teachers played a big role. One section of the auction was dedicated to items created and donated by them. The most popular were the preseason Patriots tickets and the company of teacher and class advisor Jeannie Holenko; a Hyannis shopping trip with Ms. Holenko and class advisor Ms. Heyman; and a birthday party with Mr. Hart.

Other popular regular items were 100 gallons of fuel oil donated by R. M. Packer Co., Cape Air tickets, foursomes of golf at Farm Neck, and Chappy ferry tickets. "We found the businesses very generous," says Ms. Hammett.

The crowd had a good sense of humor and high spirits throughout the night, despite the power going out halfway through the auction.
Good Dog Goods owner Kerry Scott, a frequent donor for many Island auctions, donated a quilted dog carrier and "doggie goodies." "It's really important to give, when you live in a place like this," she says. "I can't imagine being here and being a business and not doing it. There's so much need, and we help in all the ways that we can - all of us, everyone that works for me."

The auction attendees were very generous as well, and this year's event made over $10,000, according to Ms. Hammett. The lively environment at the Portuguese American Club continued even when the power went out at 8:45 pm. The auction continued in the dark, with the help of a few emergency lights, and without a microphone.

Veronica Balboni and Lisa Williston
Veronica Balboni and Lisa Williston do the figuring last Saturday night.
"I thought we had a good turnout, and I thought we had a lot of fun," Ms. Hammett added. "The people who came were all in a great mood. Even when the power went out, it didn't seem to interfere with people having a great time."

Ms. Hammett said the event could not have run more smoothly. "Truly it was one of the greatest committees I've ever worked on. It was very upbeat and everyone was very supportive of one another. We all played our positions and played them really well."

The last fundraiser for the class trip, the Christmas Bazaar, will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Oak Bluffs School, which is located on Tradewinds Road.