Jill Morse, an organizer of the new Auction for Education, displays a fiddle – one of the many items up for bids at the May 4 fundraising event. It was presented by the Parent Action Committees at the four schools in Hay River to replace the former Hay River Playschool Auction.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The first-ever edition of the Auction for Education has exceeded organizers’ expectations in the amount of money raised.

“It was a huge success,” said Jill Morse, one of the organizers of the May 4 event. “We figure after expenses we have around $70,000 for the schools.”

The auction, which included an associated raffle in the weeks leading up to the event, was presented by the Parent Action Committees (PACs) at the four schools in Hay River.

Proceeds will be divided among the four schools – Princess Alexandra School, Harry Camsell School, Ecole Boreale and Diamond Jenness Secondary School.

“We’ll, of course, leave money in the account to do next year’s function, but we’ll split the rest of it up,” said Morse.

The new Auction for Education replaces the Hay River Playschool Auction. That fundraising event was last held in 2017 and the playschool has since closed.

Morse said the organizers of the new auction were “overjoyed” by its success.

“We were shocked how much we ended up making off of it,” she said. “We were hoping for a higher number, like around $50,000 or $60,000, but we weren’t thinking $70,000. I don’t think any of us were thinking $70,000.”

In the past, the Hay River Playschool Auction had raised between $22,000 and $60,000.

Morse said the Auction for Education itself raised about $53,000, ticket sales to the auction and a dance afterwards made about $4,000 profit, proceeds from the raffle were about $14,610, and there were also liquor sales at the auction and dance.

For the auction at the Royal Canadian Legion, 200 tickets were available and the event was sold out.

The money raised will go to numerous things to help the four schools and their students, such as a variety of extracurricular activities, field trips, sports, travel clubs, special needs programs, music programs, travel to tournaments, and more.

The raffle was for a $10,000 shopping spree in Hay River.

The raffle winner was Misty Sinclair.

Morse explained the raffle winner could spend the money at from one to 10 businesses – anywhere in Hay River with a business licence.

“That was kind of the PACs’ way of giving back to the businesses that sponsor them all the time and help us raise money all the time, and donate to our cause,” she said, noting the winner decided to spend her winnings in 10 locations.

The second prize in the raffle of a return trip to Edmonton on Northwestern Air Lease Ltd., plus $600 spending money, was won by Blake Lawrence.

The third prize of two adult-size kayaks was won by Jen Braun.

Morse was appreciative of the support from the residents of Hay River for the Auction for Education.

“It tugs at my heartstrings how much this community gives over and over again, and how great everybody is,” she said. “It’s just phenomenal. It still shocks me how they can keep giving and giving, and be so great. Hay River is such a great place. We should be so proud of our community members.”

Morse noted the PACs will continue with their other fundraising events throughout the year, such as the Festival of Trees, the Christmas Craft Fair and the Memory Tree.

“They’re all events that the community looks forward to, so we won’t stop doing those events and raising money,” she said.

Morse, who is a member of the PAC at Diamond Jenness Secondary School, said the PACs intend to make the Auction for Education an annual event, noting the Playschool Auction ran for about 27 years.

“I hope it continues on with the PACs for that long,” she said.

The first Auction for Education featured about 140 items up for bids, ranging from donations from businesses and individuals to art from students.

The theme of the event was ‘Northern Lights – Lighting the Future’.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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