PTSA hopes to raise $50,000 for schools

Jackie Merrill works with second-grade students on a fiber collage project for the auction. - Courtesy Photo
Jackie Merrill works with second-grade students on a fiber collage project for the auction.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

People with a passion for public education can put those feelings to use when the PTSA hosts its annual fundraising event, “An Auction Affair: For the Love of Education,” on Feb. 11.

This year’s event will be smaller and more intimate than auctions in years past but will still feature a silent and live auction with a multitude of items donated in support of the Island’s three public schools. The evening will also include appetizers, dessert, a chocolate wine tasting and entertainment by musician Pat Reardon and the Washington State Fairies.

At the end of the evening, there will be dancing with Islander Dan Brown serving as deejay, playing love songs from the 1950s to 1970s. Kevin Joyce and Martha Enson will emcee.

The goal for this year’s event is $50,000, according to Jackie Merrill, the auction chair. Last year, the PTSA netted $67,000.

The school district’s dollars are stretched to the limit because of inadequate funding by the state, and administrators will welcome the funds, according to Superintendent Michael Soltman.

“The PTSA auction is the district’s way of funding curriculum and instructional improvement,” he said. “It is the sole source of new materials, text books and much staff development. It’s critically important.”

The funds raised will be allocated for specific needs at the end of the school year, with the guidance of Soltman and Roxanne Lyons, the district’s curriculum director.

Proceeds from the raise-the-paddle portion of the evening will go toward strengthening the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program at the schools, Soltman said.

The district will apply the funds to a new math text adoption for grades kindergarten through 12, a possible reconfiguration of the high school math program, updates to the fifth-grade robotics program, an internship program for ninth- through 12th-grade at-risk students who will work with people in the STEM fields and improvements to the science courses at the high school.

This program will be expensive to launch, Merrill noted, and the money raised will provide much-needed assistance.

The auction is three months earlier this year than in years past. Last year, it came right before the Vashon Island Schools Foundation’s big fundraising push and at the end of auction season on the Island, not optimal timing, according to Merrill.

“This year we decided to hit the ground running after the first of the year,” she said.

In a change from recent years, this year’s venue will be the Vashon Golf & Swim Club, and festivities will begin with a reception in a heated outdoor tent. Roughly 100 silent auction items will be featured, ranging from a bicycle tuneup to a fire station birthday party. Guests will move indoors for the live auction, where 25 items will be up for bid, including a Pam Ingalls painting, a wide variety of student art, an eight-course dinner for 10 and a one-year full membership to the golf club.

A kissing booth, with John Sage serving as photographer, will add to the event’s theme, as will students’ decorations. The Washington State Fairies will sell corsages.

People who wish to attend are encouraged to buy tickets early. Only 150 will be for sale, with no tickets expected to be available at the door. Organizers predict a good time for all who attend, both couples and singles.

“I really would like raise money, see people have a good time, get a good feeling about giving to our schools and get a sense of what the PTSA does to support our children,” said Erica Davidson, PTSA president. “Make education your Valentine.”


An Auction Affair will be from 5 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Vashon Golf & Swim Club. Tickets are on sale — $35 each for ages 21 and over — at The Vashon Bookshop, The Little House and Movie Magic. For more information, see or contact Jackie Merrill at 734-7066.


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