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Raise your hand if it seems a lot longer than six months since A News Cafe opened the Carr Fire Scholarship Auction for bidding. To refresh your memory, you can click here to see a list of the 2018 auction items.
And yet, it was barely a half a year ago when we posted 15 sets of items on ANC for our first online auction to benefit ANC’s Carr Fire Scholarship Fund.
In my early dreams, we’d raise a few thousand dollars. In reality, we raised more than $5,000. Credit for this success goes to our ANC folks who were such awesome bidders, and of course, the generous donors who contributed everything from wine and art to a handmade afghan and a dinner for eight at my house.
You may recall that Deb Segelitz, ANC’s favorite American in Scotland, came up with the idea of an online auction after feeling so frustrated at being unable to help her north state friends after the Carr Fire. She commissioned a Welsh artist to create the Carr Fire Phoenix, the auction’s first official auction donation.
It was purchased by winning bidder Eleanor Townsend, an ANC family member since the site’s beginning, but instead of keeping it for herself, Eleanor graciously handed the Phoenix over for safekeeping to Matt Grigsby as the guardian of the delicate hand-blown creature, until the next auction.
After all, if it weren’t for Matt Grigsby, there would be no Deb Segelitz on ANC, since he is the one who reached out to her – his online friend – to pitch the idea of a column on ANC. That was 50 columns ago.
Of course, I am grateful to all the donors, but I must give special recognition to Janine Hall of Janine’s Jewelers, who created the incredible Carr Fire pendant, a stunning piece of jewelry, just for this auction. I still remember the day when she walked to my house (we’re neighbors) and we stood on my front lawn to look at the pendant in the sunshine, so I could appreciate it in the full light. I don’t know when I’ve been more smitten by a piece of jewelry.
The pendant garnered the highest bid, bringing $1,978 to the auction. As it turned out, 1978 was a significant year for the person who took home the pendant with her winning bid.
I opened up a bank account just for the Carr Fire Scholarship funds. And there the money has sat since the auction; all $5,380 of it. (The actual auction brought in $4,818, but the amount grew to $5,380 because of mailed-in donations by wonderful ANC folks who wished to participate via financial contributions only.)
Our application had an April 17 deadline. It explained that the scholarships would be awarded to five graduating high school seniors who lost their homes in the July 2018 Carr Fire, and who planned to attend an accredited college or trade school following graduation.
I enlisted the assistance of three ANC family members/subscribers, all retired teachers: Joanne Snyder Lobeski, Anita Brady and Eleanor Townsend.
Anita and Joanne created the Carr Fire Application form, and contacted north state high schools to let counselors pass on the applications to the appropriate students.
We held two meetings; one to plan how to progress with the scholarship process, one to make our selections. Of course, lunch was involved. Alcohol was not. Trust assured we had our wits about us for this important task.
Yesterday afternoon Joanne, Eleanor and I met at my house to look over the applications and choose the five students who would each be awarded $1,000. (Anita was out of town, but gave us her blessing to make the best choices.)
Eleven students sent in applications, and we selected the five recipients. I won’t share their names now, because it’s supposed to be a surprise for the students during the awards presentation ceremonies in a few weeks.
I will tell you that the recipients are graduating seniors from Shasta High School, Foothill High School, Central Valley High School and University Preparatory School. The winners are a mix of young men and young women.
I confess that initially, as the applications started arriving in my post office box, I felt a bit disappointed that more students didn’t apply. But when the day finally arrived for our committee to make our selections, 11 applications were more than enough to consider. Less applications meant fewer students to disappoint, fewer hopes to dash.
The awards ceremonies will take place from May 20 to May 31, which our committee members will attend to personally award the students their certificates on behalf of everyone at ANC who made the scholarships a reality.
If you were an auction bidder, then thank you. If you were an auction donor, then thank you. If you contributed money to the auction, without bidding, then thank you. If you were a winning bidder, then thank you.
I hope you had fun last year, because we’re already planning ANC’s 2019 online auction to benefit the Carr Fire Scholarship Fund for 2020 graduating seniors who lost homes in the Carr Fire. Ideas are welcome. Donations are welcome. We have a $380 head start, from the money left over from the 2018 auction.
I already know that I won’t pull the dumb move I did last year by having the auction close at midnight, because that meant serious bidders and I were all up until past midnight. Nope. Won’t do that again. Other than that, I’m open to suggestions.
We are excited about what this next auction will bring in the fall of 2019. Who knows, maybe we’ll raise $11,000, just in case we have 11 applicants again next year, so that way, everyone will be a winner.
But most of all, I am so proud of everyone at ANC who made it possible for five students who lost their homes in the Carr Fire to receive something good related to the same fire that took so much away.
Sometimes, even smoke has a silver lining.