Time does pass quickly when you're having fun covering all things Enumclaw, which was exactly the case when last week, Nancy Merrill reminded us that the Enumclaw Schools Foundation's Full Day Kindergarten Dinner and Auction was -- eghads -- this weekend!
The event organizers were wonderful and we're very grateful to Thunder Mountain Middle School PTSO President Johna Thomson for inviting us to sit at her table Saturday at the last minute.
It was great fun to watch the Enumclaw High School drama and theater students re-enact parts of the popular movie The Hunger Games for the crowd as we took part in our very own 'hunger games' to determine who got to line up for the delicious buffet dinner first.
This event, in its fourth year this year, raises money in support of full-day kindergarten in the Enumclaw School District, which has made a measurable difference in how well students are prepared upon entering first grade and beyond. (There's a small video of the class at Black Diamond Elementary this fall singing Itsy Bitsy Spider. There is a second video of Superintendent Mike Nelson interviewing two kindergarteners Saturday night which also ends with Itsy Bitsy Spider -- it's a popular song!)
The district back in the years 2003 through 2009 was able to provide full-day kindergarten for all children for free, thanks in part to voter-approved I-728 and to a Gates Grant received in 2002 that paid for staff training and curriculum development.
In 2009, however, funds for I-728 were cut and the district returned to a half-day kindergarten with a paid full-day option.
In that first year, the community raised $75,000 to provide 30 full-day kindergarten scholarships and save three jobs; the district was able to provide at least one full-day kindergarten class at each of its five elementary schools.
In 2010, the Enumclaw Schools Foundation raised $70,000 which funded 28 scholarships and like the previous year, preserved three jobs and a class at each school.
Editor's Note: The dollar figure raised in 2010 has been corrected to $70,000. An incorrect figure was originally reported.
Last year, ESF raised $65,000 for 26 scholarships. Of those, several were recognized by ESF President Jim Barchek and in the event program:
- Enumclaw Rotary Club with four scholarships
- Dr. Jim and Nancy Merill with two scholarships
- Black Diamond PTA with one scholarship
- Darrel and Dr. Holly Dickson with one scholarship
- Robert and Gerrie Garton with one scholarship
- Kibler PTA with one scholarship
- Mike and Britt Nelson with one scholarship
We don't have final numbers yet from Saturday night but judging by how many bid numbers were flying up to bid for full, half and partial scholarships, we counted at least six in the bag. (If anyone has an update on a final number, feel free to leave a comment and let us know!)
An assortment of gifts and services were offered up for silent auction and bidders competed for 12 additional live auction items including complete camping and hiking excursions, wines and wine tastings, Mariners tickets and culinary experiences.
The enticing dinner was provided by White Linen Catering, and we'd like to thank our table-mates Rebecca Olness, mayor of Black Diamond and her husband, Ron, Dave and Karin Ambur, Brenda Caraveo and of course Johna Thomson for your great company and for sharing a scrumptuous chocolate raspberry cake with us from the dessert auction. We never got the name of the parent who provided the cake but it didn't last very long, did it?
We took some pictures and have included them with this file. If you have pictures as well, please consider uploading them to this story and sharing them with our readers too!