Schools step up to help with St. Jude auction

Glenbrook kids at last year’s auction

By Paige Nash

Local schools always play a big part in raising money for the annual St. Jude auction that takes place every February. Last year those schools contributed more than $141,463 combined. 

Most of the children that attend schools in the area personally know at least one child their age who is fighting or has fought the battle for their life against cancer, so it is personal.  

“St. Jude is close to our hearts at Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School since we have had multiple students go in the past,” said Lakeside principal Denny Finley.  

Many of the schools, like Lakeside, spend the entire school year fundraising by hosting events, selling tickets for raffles and having dress days.  

“We started the year off fundraising. The week of the St. Jude auction we have class wars to raise money and on the final day we have an all-day event in the gym,” said Finley. “All students and teachers will be involved, and it always brings in a bunch of money. We give updates to our student body each hour for motivation. We always like to beat our previous year’s total and we are on track to do so this year.” 

Last year Lakeside raised $20,780 for St. Jude. 

Fundraising at Glenbrook High School has been headed-up by Melanie Earnhardt for the last three years. Her daughter, Faith, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called ependymoma in 2018, during her senior year at Glenbrook. Now, Faith shows no evidence of the disease, but that has not slowed up Apache fundraising efforts for other children who have found themselves in the same position she was in just a few years ago.  

Earnhardt said, “I think it really hit home for the Glenbrook Apaches when they watched one of their own go to St. Jude in 2018. It was no longer for someone they didn’t know; they were now helping kids like their fellow Apache. Since 2019, we have raised over $100,000.” 

The school began raising money for the cause over 15 years ago. They start the year off with a coin drive to help raise money to donate a $1,000 Great Wolf Lodge trip for the auction raffle.  

The high schools are not the only ones busy raising money. Perhaps the youngest group of children who are contributing to that grand total attend Lagniappe Montessori and Children’s Center.  

Assistant and Director Lauren Davis said they are currently busy planning a raffle, dress up week and coin drive. Even though the children who attend Lagniappe are younger they still have a great understanding of the gracious deed they are participating in.  

“I think our students are more aware of cancer and how it could impact them or their families because Cole Benson is a student of ours,” said Davis. “He shares his experiences with all of us and is so good at explaining how his treatments work. They love raising money each year for the kids at St. Jude, but especially in the last year it’s become so much more meaningful because we know it’s helping our friend, Cole.” 

Through the years Central Elementary has hosted many events with proceeds going to St. Jude, including a Duck Derby, Sock Hop, dress days, Mardi Gras parades, pageants and more. Individual grades make a competition out of it to see who can raise the most money by auction time. The grade who raises the most gets to present the check on stage at the Minden Civic Center where the auction has been hosted for the last several years.  

The preschoolers held their annual Trike-a-thon before Christmas break where they asked for sponsorships to aid in raising money to go towards their class total. 

“The Pre-K students were so excited to raise $1,530 for the sick kids at St. Jude. They had a great time riding trikes and having fun,” said Preschool Teacher Tabitha Osborne. 

Be sure to attend the auction or tune in to learn the grand total schools raise for 2023. The auction will kick-off February 9.  

Central Elementary kids always raise a large amount for St. Jude.

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