‘Mad Hatter’s Ball’ raises funds for Parkrose schools

LIVELY VIDEO TO SEE | When you saw the fun to be had at 2022 Parkrose Education Foundation Dinner and Auction, you’ll wish you’d been there …

This year’s Parkrose Education Foundation Dinner and Auction – themed “Mad Hatter’s Ball” – starts off with a silent auction, with hors d’oeuvres served to whet the generosity of bidders.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After being online and virtual since 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participants were eager and ready to enjoy the Parkrose Education Foundation Dinner and Auction in person on Saturday evening, April 23.

Enjoy an entire evening’s fun, that took place on March 23, 2022 when the Parkrose Education Foundation presented their ‘Mad Hatter’s Ball’ Dinner and Auction:

Held once again at the Portland Airport Sheridan Hotel, this year’s theme was “Mad Hatter’s Ball” – with the organizers encouraging guests to don outrageous headgear; and many did just that.

At the check-in table are volunteers Susan Wagstaff, Jennifer Scribner, and Sarah Lamb-Christensen.

Looking pleased at how well the event is being received are these folks from the “Mad Hatter’s Ball” Planning Committee: Londa Sundin, Vern Sundin, Colleen Grant, Janeen Scott, Kris Brown, and Chris Sellon.

“This evening’s ball is fun, because the theme encourages our guests to ‘let loose’ a little – but in a party atmosphere,” observed one of the organizers – Parkrose Education Foundation Chair Londa Sundin.

“This is our 17th dinner auction,” Sundin said. “We can no longer say ‘annual’, because of COVID [preventing its occurrence] for the last couple of years. In past years, we’ve had upwards of 150 people attend; and tonight we’re expecting about 100 guest – which, given the circumstances, is pretty good!”

Having a great time at the ball, and representing the Historic Parkrose Board, are Samantha Montanaro, JR Lilly, Leah Maurer & Annette Stanhope, and Ed Charles.

Chair to retire
“I’ve been doing this since 2011, and it’s all been super fun,” Sundin told East Portland News at the ball. “However, this is my last year; I’m retiring, and looking forward to traveling and exploring more of our world.

“So, we are looking for someone to step forward and take the reins. And, for that person who cares as much about education in Parkrose as I do, we will not leave them ‘high and dry’ – we’ll work with them hand-in-hand!”

Bidding for items in the Silent Auction are guests Juneau Singleton and Jodi Wallis.

Parkrose High Principal grateful
Browsing the Silent Auction, Parkrose High School Principal Molly Ouche stopped to share her thoughts about the celebration. “I think this is incredible. You know, my kids attend the Russell Academy. This auction is what allows them to do field trips, and have the extras that they get to enjoy as students in Parkrose.

“It makes me happy, seeing all the people here who care so much about education in Parkrose,” reflected Ouche. “It makes me warm inside; it’s such a great night.”

As guests are seated, they find salads already on the tables to start their meal.

After the Silent Auction closed, guests were ushered into the Sheridan’s triple ballroom for the next phase of the event.

Attendees dined on market green salad, boneless beef short ribs braised in red wine, with seasonal vegetables; fennel-scented Northwest salmon pan, seared with a citrus vinaigrette – or, alternatively, a vegetarian saffron risotto.

Every one of the bidding tables are winners in the Dessert Dash; here, guest Christine Riley is clearly pleased with her table’s selection.

Dessert was not on the menu. Here’s why: one of the fun fundraising delights, called the Dessert Dash, encourages tables to bid a contribution to prioritize the opportunity to select from a table laden with a variety of dessert treats. From the highest bidder on down, each table – with boisterous directions from the table mates – selects its dessert for the evening.

With band uniforms – both existing, and proposed – are guests Ethan Palioca and Emma Palioca.

A Special Appeal that evening was directed to buying new Parkrose High Marching Band uniforms. From the ball and online donations, that fund reached the $20,000 level of the $50,000 goal.

Master of Ceremonies and 106.7 The Eagle radio personality Scott Tom bantered with auctioneer Brian Wheeler, and kept the program moving briskly along.

Here’s a panoramic view of the guests enjoying dinner at the 2022 Parkrose Education Foundation Dinner and Auction.

The MaryLu Baetkey Scholarship Fund reached $5,000, including new revenue from the auction and a donation from the Foundation.

And, after the ball, the gross was over $33,000, Sundin reported afterwards. “All funds raised go to our Grant Budget, so we can enhance the educational experiences of Parkrose students!”

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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