Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

BJHS annual auction draws large crowd, record dollars

March 23, 2006

With more than 180 baskets for sale, the Baldwin Junior High School's annual basket auction fundraiser brought in around $4,200 on the night of March 15.

"I think it was a great success," said Laura McCall, BJHS social worker and student council advisor. "It was bigger than I expected. People came out for a variety of reasons. I didn't care if they bought anything, but it's a social event. When kids get into junior high, we don't have as many social events, because we have so many ball games and track meets. This was a nice event to get people out to."

Kathy Wilson took over as the event coordinator from Crystal Harris, who was the coordinator for the past three years. Wilson loved the turnout this year.

"It was great, because this was a record year," Wilson said. "I think the word of mouth has spread about the event and the past year's success have made this a wonderful event."

McCall really enjoyed this year's auction success.

"I just thought it was so much fun," McCall said. "It was really a fun atmosphere. We really topped the number of baskets that we've had in the past. We were over 180 baskets."

Wilson said she had to work hard to bring in so many baskets, but also knows next year will be easier.

"When I first hit the pavement, I got a lot that said no, but I also had a lot of yeses," Wilson said. "It was just a matter of getting the word out."

McCall said she and Wilson decided to create more baskets for children this year.

"Our strategy this year was to get more baskets that kids could afford," McCall said. "There were still some fantastic baskets that adults purchased, but there were a lot of kids baskets. I think that brought the kids out too."

Another reason for the success this year might be because of the eighth grade musical, "Krazy Kamp," which was the same night. The performance brought many parents and community members to BJHS.

"For me, it's so much of a social event," McCall said. "If it weren't for the musical production, we wouldn't get the same kind of pull, because parents come out to see their kids.

"We noticed this year a lot of community members came out that didn't have kids in the production," McCall said. "I think it's really becoming an annual event, and I feel good about that."

Each sixth hour class at BJHS created a basket for the auction. The highest selling class basket went to Patty Flory-Evans' class, which made a patchwork quilt that sold for $150.

That class celebrated with juice and cookies on Thursday for having the highest selling basket.

The next highest selling class basket went to Dane Jorgensen's sixth hour class. It created a University of Kansas basket that sold for $110.

Other top selling baskets included the two basketballs signed by the University of Kansas men's basketball team and coaches. Those two baskets combined for $200.

The money raised will again go toward improving the school's technology and other needs, including the promotion dance in May.

"We've done some of the digital stuff last year, with the cameras," McCall said. "We will probably be purchasing more technology kinds of things. We always do our school gardens. We will also give some money to the parents to help decorate for the promotion dance."

McCall said the local businesses and the community were a huge part of the auction's success this year. She wanted to thank everyone that helped make it a success.

"Baldwin Athletic Club really donated a lot of stuff," McCall said. "Plus Cheryl (McCreary) donates her time, which we really appreciated. The local businesses really came out this year and we appreciated it."

The basket auction serves as BJHS's primary fundraiser and brought in nearly $1,600 more than last year.

McCall got the idea for the basket auction from her niece's school a few years ago. She said space for the baskets became a problem, until she was given space in the old office.

"Thank goodness the parents came in and took it over," McCall said. "Kids would come in to talk to me and my whole room would be full of baskets. It was just weird."

Wilson and Harris both work at Vinland Elementary School, which made the transition for Wilson much easier.

"I had worked the auction as a cashier the last two years, and I saw how well it was run and how important it was to the junior high," Wilson said. "The main reason I took it over was it's the only fundraiser for the school and the money goes straight to the classroom.

"Crystal (Harris) laid the groundwork for the success of the basket auction," Wilson said. "She was helpful in any way and answered all of my questions. She even came in to wrap a few baskets on Wednesday afternoon. She was the wind beneath my wings."

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