Forget the goal of raising $21,000 in 2021 for the grads of Liverpool Regional High School (LRHS).
The 23rd annual LRHS auction event raised almost double that — $40,100. All of this money will go into a scholarship fund available for all 2021 graduates of LRHS to access.
“It’s pretty cool. I’m 100 per cent sure it’s a record,” said co-organizer and grad parent, Deborah Raddall. “I can say so much about it. The thing is, it’s been a lot of work, but the response on one level has blown me away, but on the other side of it, I’m kind of not surprised. This community steps up every time. It’s a testament to how important our students are.”
The auction is normally a one-night event held at LRHS and around $20,000 raised is the norm.
Raddall, along with grad parents Melanie Inglis and Charmaine Stevens, organized the event and grad parent Travis Saulnier provided technical support.
“I was so proud to be working with such really great, competent people,” said Raddall. “We got right down to it from the start. It was like, ‘Here COVID-19, hold my beer. We have stuff to do.”
In total, 193 auction items were donated and up for bid. These brought in $21,329. There was also a 50/50 draw that raised $7,612, with half of the money going to the draw winner, Lorna Milford. Additionally, $14,965 in donations from businesses and individuals came in to make up the total.
Donations from businesses and individuals came from all over, including a group of local Grades 11 to 12 students who donated money that they had raised so they could participate in an exchange trip to Japan in 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the trip was cancelled and the participants decided to donate the $4,800 they had raised to the scholarship fund, to be split evenly for the grads of 2021 and those of 2022.
People were still donating money 10 days after the auction had closed.
The event raises money each year to support LRHS graduating students who are advancing their education. Recipients are chosen by a selection committee that allocates the funds to students according to a set of criteria, including marks and school and community participation. This year, 75 students are eligible to graduate.
A wide range of items were up for grabs at this year’s event, including soap baskets, books, gift certificates, a chocolate celebration cake and fire pits. The online LRHS 2021 Scholarship Fundraiser site, which attracted 1,200 people, began at the end of April and the auction closed May 21.
Raddall said that COVID-19 protocols created a few speed bumps along the way, but they prompted the event to reach out to more people and made it accessible to everyone.
One person messaged Raddall saying how thankful she was for the auction being online because she has been unable to attend for the past number of years.
“With COVID-19 we had to be creative with how we made all this stuff happen. When we went into this, we were, like, ‘How are we going to get this done?’” said Raddall. “But everyone was so understanding, generous and supportive through it all. That was the neatest thing.”
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin