Parent-led fundraiser boosts West

       West Middle School's teachers will have nearly $3,000 in additional funds to spend on field trips, materials or other student needs following a parent-organized silent auction in the gym March 6.
       In addition, a spaghetti dinner with donated food and volunteer cooks in the cafeteria garnered about $600 for the school's National Junior Honor Society the same night.
       The two fundraisers were deliberately timed for the same night, along with an auditorium concert by the school's band and orchestra in a first-time, three-part event.
       “It was very welcome,” said Principal Clay Gomez of the funding windfall. “For the first time out, they did very well.”
       The effort was led by parent Kelly Darby, who had organized similar events at her children's elementary school (Stratton) in previous years. She also credited parent Jane Gustafson, who “helped a lot,” along with 20 or so students (several from the Honor Society), who went door-to-door with parents to solicit auction donations from Westside merchants.
       Overall, 74 businesses gave more than 200 items or services for the auction. “The Westside businesses just gave so much, it blew me away,” Darby said.
       Scores of people streamed through the gym over a roughly 3 ½-hour span, browsing through such offerings as sports tickets, massages, clothes, haircuts and gym equipment. In the end, all but one item - a piece of jewelry - were bid on, and that too was sold when a parent who had bought something else came in to pick it up and decided to buy the jewelry as well, she reported.
       Gomez singled out one more parent in the evening's success: Veronica Jaquez, who is also a part-time employee (school volunteer coordinator).
       The Honor Society funds will be used for their induction ceremony and other costs, Gomez explained.
       Gomez couldn't say exactly how the silent-auction income would be used. “It's up to the teacher teams,” he said. “The one qualifier is that it has to benefit the kids in some way.”

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