Challenge Fund School Auction Night April 8 | SteamboatToday.com

Challenge Fund School Auction Night April 8

Teresa Ristow

— Tickets are on sale for School Auction Night, a primary fundraiser for the Challenge Fund, which awards grants to Steamboat Springs elementary school teachers.

The auction is planned for 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 8 at The Steamboat Grand. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 per table, in advance, with teacher tickets available for $35. Prices increase to $65 per person at the door.

Last year's inaugural event raised $30,000 of the $68,000 awarded by the Challenge Fund to support programs and equipment, including Lego math, a 3-D printer, a Denver history trip and a reading incentive program.

"This is an incredible program that is supported by the community," said Michelle McNamara, a Challenge Fund committee member. "The grants cover a lot of different areas, from reading to math to technology and art."

The event includes silent, live and dessert auctions and will feature live music from singer-songwriter duo Chamberlin Birch.

Auction items this year include several pieces of art from local artists, including Sandy Graves, Chula Beauregard and Michelle Ideus, as well as a five-course dinner from the Truffle Pig, a two-night condo stay in Winter Park, a scenic helicopter ride from Classic Air Medical and other items and gift certificates from local businesses.

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Additional "Teacher Treasures" auction items are offered by some teachers and include activities for students with a teacher, such as a fishing outing with a teacher, after-school dance party with a teacher or a bike ride and ice cream with a teacher.

Last year's $68,000 in grants was the highest amount awarded by the Challenge Fund since its creation in 2011. The fund aims to support 21st century skills development, including creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication.

With the Steamboat Springs School District facing possible budget cuts in the upcoming year, funding projects and events through the Challenge Fund is more important than ever, according to Dianne Bertini, a Challenge Fund committee member and parent of two Strawberry Park Elementary students.

"We're looking at some cuts this year, so we feel now, more than ever, this auction and these fundraisers for the Challenge Fund are going to be really important," Bertini said.

Parents have been voting for which Challenge Fund projects funded in the most-recent grant cycle they think are most innovative, and one teacher each from Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools are expected to be recognized during the auction night for, "Most Innovative Challenge Fund Project of the Year."

Last year, Soda Creek technology teacher Scott Ferguson won for his "Chromebooks and Coding Club" grant, and Strawberry Park fourth-grade teacher Katie Malone Weeks was presented an award, a golden Lego trophy, for her "Planetarium and Science Night" event.

For more information about the Challenge Fund, to volunteer or to purchase tickets, visit steamboatschoolauction.com.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

If you go:

What: School Auction Night for the Challenge Fund

When: 6 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 8

Where: The Steamboat Grand, 2300 Mount Werner Circle

Tickets: $50/person, $35/teacher in advance, $65/person at the door

Information: http://www.steamboatscho…