Our 25th Annual Benefit Auction took place on Friday night. From the moment you walked in the door you were transplanted to a far away place that made you feel like you were Under the Palms, and we all saw the vision of auction chairs Robin Eckmann & Jennafer Martin come to life. The scene was certainly set for a night filled with great shopping, silent bidding, good conversation, sensational food, and a very lively live auction.
The south commons were transformed by our amazing decorations committee which was headed up by Sudie Jones. As you entered you were greeted by a huge cruise ship that had taken port along with hand crafted palm trees designed by Sudie and animal art created by GCS art students.
The South Gym housed the silent auction and the La Bear Boutique. La Bear, headed up by GCS parent Laura Isaacson, was filled with so many fun items. Some of which had been hand made by GCS parents and students. As two students walked through, I heard them say, “Where is this La Bear Boutique, and why haven’t we been there before?” I interjected that this was a special cash and carry store just for the auction. When teen aged girls are impressed, you know you’ve done well!
Silent auction was buzzing! The School Board Members greeted patrons with goblets of sparkling punch, created by one of the silent auction chairs Lynette Walker, that were adorned with those cute little umbrellas which added to the Under the Palms feeling of the night. There were some really fabulous items and this year the energy was kicked up with the bidding board which was hosted by GCS students who rang a bell whenever a new bid was placed on one of the items.
When the silent auction closed it was time to head down the hallway to the north gym for dinner and live auction. Along the way the tropical theme continued all throughout the halls. The north gym had been transformed into a seaside café by Jennafer Martin and crew, with a curtained entrance flanked by beach chairs. The tables were beautifully set with bright tropical floral arrangements and each guest received a thank you favor of lifesaver mints.
The food arranged by Chef Al from The Bridge Catering, in coordination with Kylee Hickok was amazing. It was capped off by a new event, the Dessert Dash, which was coordinated by Kathy Winkle. Each table bid on their dessert and one by one, beginning with the highest bidding table, a runner from the table DASHED to the dessert table to get their dessert of choice. The desserts ranged from decadent chocolate cakes, cheesecakes, key lime pies, s’mores and even twinkies.
The live auction, organized by Katie Leadbetter, was quite lively this year. The energy in the room was high. There were several little bidding wars that brought the crowd to clapping as an encouragement to keep the bidders going. This resulted in one item going for $10,000.
The Bid-A-Project this year was to fund an Elementary/Jr. High Computer lab upgrade. As a staff are all humbled by the generosity of our auction patrons who gave so generously and raised $63,845 to fund this much needed project.
Without further adieu, drum roll please, the 2013 Under the Palms annual Grace Christian Auction raised: $247,034.00 (including bid-a-project). And for that and the entire success of the auction – to God be the Glory!
**Update: the new grand total is now $256,948.00
Thank you to all who attended and to the tireless volunteers who gave so much of their time to make this evening such a success:
Rachel Reynolds – Development Coordinator
Tony Murrow & the Tech-lings – Media Support
Shannon Dow – Publications
Marne Sheldon – Development Director
Auction Leadership Team
Robin Eckmann & Jennafer Martin – Auction Chairs
Sherri Davis – Reservations
Eleanor Dean – Check Out, Procurement
Kari Erickson – Live Auction
Kylee Hickok – Catering, Silent Auction
Vickie Isaacs – Procurement
Laura Isaacson – La Bear Boutique
Sudie Jones – Decorations
Kelly King – Courier
Katie Leadbetter – Live Auction Chair, Procurement
Ginny McKay – Class Basket
Susan Snow – Data Entry Chair
Lynnette Walker – Silent Auction
Shelby Weaver – Live Auction, Procurement
Kathy Winkle – Dessert Dash
Crystal Annett, Wendy Baumeister, Kia Binder, Brooke Blomfield, Joan Bouman, Deborah Bourdon, Tamara Brown, Kritty Chouest, Shelly Cochrane, Stacie Cooper, Graciela Echeverria-Hanley, Donna Eller, Kelly Ford, Sahar Foster, Nancy Gehm, Eva Hall, Tamara Hovila, Rene` Jones, Lana Karlberg, Trish Kopp, Charly Masters, Teri McLaughlin, Roberta Miljure, Patti Moore, Jessica Murphy, Wendy Salima, Marne Sheldon, TJ Sorenson,
Kay Spear-Budd, Mary Werner, and Cathleen Wooten.
Special thanks to the Grace Room Moms for organizing the class baskets! Also, Mr. Setian and the art students for the Caribbean animal art.