‘Monti Gras’ tailgate event set for March 2

It takes a village to plan and organize the annual Monticello School Foundation dinner and auction. This year, the event is themed “Monti Gras Black & Red Gala.” Attendees are asked to come in their Panther gear and enjoy a tailgating party while raising money for the school district. Seated in front are board members Winnie Williams and Annette Smith. Standing are Charlie Becker, Steve Williams, Phil Hanna, and Dan Goodyear. (Photo by Pete Temple)

Phil Hanna, a Foundation board member, made and donated this oak wine server for the Monticello School Foundation auction. Items can still be dropped off for the auction at the MCSD Office.
School Foundation mixes things up with ‘Black and Red Gala’
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     This year there will be a new spin to the annual Monticello School Foundation dinner and auction.

     Set for Saturday, March 2, the event is themed the “Black and Red Gala.”

     “Monti Gras” plays on the classic Mardi Gras concept. Attendees of all ages are encouraged to attend and proudly wear your Monticello Panther colors and gear to “celebrate the strength of the Monticello Community School District, the resilience of the community, and the drive to ensure the kids have the best opportunities possible.”

     “It’s going to have the look and feel of an all-school pep rally event,” said Foundation board member Annette Smith. “We’ve been working on this theme since September, and there’s a lot of excitement out there.”

     Smith said with the new theme they want to encourage more people in the school district and community to attend and participate in the event.

     “We’d like to see more parent participation and more student recognition,” she continued. “We want this to be student and parents friendly. We’re doing this for them.”

     The Monticello School Foundation exists “to provide opportunities for the Monticello Community School District otherwise not available through standard school funding, to advance the students within the district to achieve excellence in education.” The dinner and auction help to raise the funds needed to support the MCSD.

     “No gift is too small to recognize. All donations are important,” said Smith.

     Smith said the 15-member Foundation board has been working hard on the gala to make it rewarding.

     “The sights, sounds, and smells of a tailgate event is geared toward putting excitement, more audience participation, and the spirit of pride and ownership to each Monticello resident,” stressed Smith.

     To add to the idea of school ownership, the Foundation is looking to incorporate mini Monticello High School class reunions. This year, the following classes will be recognized: 2009, 1999, 1989, 1979, 1969, 1959, 1949, and 1939.

     “We want to roll two events into one,” said Smith of trying to incorporate the once-popular Monticello Alumni Banquet with the gala. “It’s something we hope to carry on every year.”

     Smith said many former students have benefitted from the generous giving of the Foundation, and it’s important for graduates of all ages to understand what goes into the current education system.

     “It is important to highlight and offer a gathering time for past graduates to relive and revive old friendships,” Smith said fondly. “By combining the events, we will be able to honor and hopefully add a financial support vehicle of reaching back to graduates to help the future generation of classes as was done for them by even earlier Monticello graduates.”

     Aside from a wide array of silent and live auction items, something new that will be introduced this year is the “Wishing Wall.” This wall will contain teachers’ wishes of specific funding requests for their classrooms. These smaller funding needs give attendees an additional option when it comes to supporting the MCSD.

     “It’s an opportunity for people to give in another way,” added Smith. “It goes directly to the teacher.”

     Since advertising the “Wishing Wall” concept, the Foundation has already received close to 60 funding requests from MCSD teachers and staff.

     To enhance the tailgate theme, the dinner will be catered by All Eastern Iowa BBQ & Catering (Shirley Stadtmueller and her sister Pam Westemeier). The menu will include all things found at a tailgating party: ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken, smokies, pizza, baked beans, chips and dip, and more.

     To add to that atmosphere, the Monticello Chamber of Commerce will be selling beer, wine and pop, with proceeds supporting both the Chamber and the Foundation.

     “When you gather with your friends, it’s nice to be able to relax,” joked Smith.

     The emcees for the evening will be Foundation board members Chris Brokaw and Smith.

     “We’ve all put in so much time to foster excitement here,” Smith said.

     The evening’s auctioneer will be Bryan Britt.

     While making your way around the room to check out all of the auction items, don’t forget to make some memories posing in front of the MCSD photo booth.

     “Let loose, have fun, and be glad you came,” urged Smith.

     Tickets for the Monti Gras Black and Red Gala are $25. They can be purchased from any Foundation board member, at any school office, at the school district office, or at the Monticello Express. You can also donate items toward the auction by dropping off your item at the district office as well, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

     The event will take place on March 2 at the Monticello Berndes Center beginning at 5:30 p.m. Visit “Monticello School Foundation” on Facebook for a sneak peek into the auction items.



Subscriber Login