By LINDSAY CAREY
The Southington Education Foundation’s sixth annual Fan of the Foundation Gala was a success, according to chairman of SEF Jan Galati.
According to her, 250 “fans” attended the gala for a night of tailgating and bidding in auctions.
“The tailgating food stations were great, because people met each other along their way and there was more opportunity for talking,” said Galati.
Other than the food and mingling, Galati said one of the highlights of the night was the entertainment. NBC CT’s news anchor Todd Piro returned for the second year to emcee the live auction, which included some interesting items like a personal drone and four tickets to a New England Patriots football game the following Sunday.
There was a demonstration of the personal drone flying at a low range at the events in order to showcase the drone’s capabilities.
“It’s capable of taking photos as well as videos and can be streamed to someone’s smart phone,” said SEF chairman Galati.
Galati also explained that SEF unexpectedly received tickets to the New England Patriots football game from a guest for the live auction.
“I believe the tickets were valued at $500 and they sold for $750,” said Galati.
There was also a silent auction, which included annual popular auction items like Principal for the Day, reserved seating at the SHS graduation, and some student art work.
For the first time ever, SEF presented the “Top Fan of the Foundation” award for 2014. The recognition will be given to the individual, business or group that makes a contribution of $5,000 or more to SEF.
This year’s recipient was Rogers Orchards and co-vice president of Rogers Orchards Greg Parczek accepted the award during a brief ceremony at the event.
According to Galati, in total the event raised $30,000 for SEF, which will further SEF’s mission to support education in town through awarding educator grants and building partnerships that benefit the youth in Southington.
Galati said that during the event, there was also a brief presentation to provide information abut the Fourth Grade Science-at-Sloper Program.
The program, which is in its fourth year, was created through a partnership with SEF, the Southington-Cheshire YMCA and the Southington Board of Education.
“I think it just brought to life what this program does for our students,” said Galati.
Over the past year, SEF has provided the money to Virtual STEM University for an honorary teacher to receive Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math related lessons and units. SEF has also helped fund the Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm, an agriculture program.
Galati also announced a new partnership and project that will include the New Britain Community Foundation of Greater New Britain and the Southington Board of Education.
According to her, information regarding this project will be forthcoming.
Overall, Galati described the night as a tremendous success for SEF.
“It’s amazing to see that the community is willing to support the enrichment of our children’s education,” said Galati. “In these times of restrictions on budgets, it’s always good to have a partner to contribute and help balance that out as well.”
By LINDSAY CAREY