27th Annual GHS Auction Raises About $200,000 for School’s Scholarship Fund


 Guests bid during the live auction. Photos by Yelena Rogers

Guests dressed to the nines packed the Westin Resort and Villas ballroom on Saturday night, March 16, for the 27th Annual Gifft Hill School auction.

The evening featured professional live auctioneers, stunning local artwork and exciting trip packages, all to raise money for the GHS Scholarship Fund, upon which more than half of the school’s student rely.

While final tallies won’t be available for a while, GHS’ assistant to the development director Molly Murrill estimated that the night raised at least $200,000.

“We’re still tallying and it always takes us a little time but we feel confident that we met last year’s amount which was $200,000,” said Murrill.

GHS officials are still counting the fundraiser’s tally because technically the event is still ongoing. Since not all the bid packages were sold on March 16, GHS is hosting an “After Auction” auction kicking off Tuesday, April 2.

Terry Bertolino bids on a package during the live auction portion of the 27th Annual Gifft HIll School Auction on March 16.

This online auction will feature 10 items still available including a weekend at the U.S. Open in New York, tickets to the Indy 500, a weekend at the Kentucky Derby, a stay at an elegant estate in Tennessee, a weekend at St. John Inn and more.

“We still have about 10 trips which include some of the sports experiences and a few local packages which didn’t sell at the auction,” Murrill said. “Those will be available for a buy-now, not an auction. The items will just be up for sale.”

“We’re hoping that will add to our grand total and we’re hoping to exceed $200,000,” she said.
While not every single item was sold at the March 16 event, GHS officials were pleased with the evening, Murrill added.

“We’re very happy with the way the event went and we had some great bids for some of the trips,” she said. “We sold out all the golden tickets and the winner was a last minute buyer from off-island who chose the Aspen trip.”

Guests first had the chance to view and bid on local art and more during the silent auction portion of the evening, which garnered a lot of interest, according to Murrill.

“The art went over really well this year and we had a lot of great sales for the artists,” she said. “Overall our silent auction was wonderful.”

Artists featured at this year’s gala were Claudia Brookes, Janet Cook-Rutnik, Jan Etre, Lisa Etre, Ron Keele, Sandra Loeffler, Nicole Morrisette, Avelino Samuel, Shira Sofer, Charles Lowrie and Gail Van de Bogurt.

After the silent auction wrapped up in one of the ballrooms, the well-heeled guests moved into the other ballroom to get ready for the exciting live auction hosted by Darron and Hope Meares of Meares Auctions, who donated their services for the fourth consecutive year.

With bid numbers flying in the air, the auction was a big success and kept the crowd on its toes throughout the night. After guests did their best in the “Heads or Tails” competition, it was Attorney Brion Morrisette who took home the wall of wine. Karen Ovicna was the lucky winner of a stunning R&I Patton multicolored sapphire bracelet.

Renowned local photographer and videographer Steven Simonsen once again had the crowd in tears after viewing his short film about GHS. Truly sending the point home about how hard GHS officials work to give students opportunities were seniors Careem Albert and Mariah Scheer, who spoke about their years at the school.

After the last bid was accepted, the crowd filtered out to of the ballroom made its way to Mongoose Junction where La Plancha del Mar hosted an after party featuring DJ LS1 and special raffle prizes.

“It was great,” Murrill said about the evening. “We had a really fun time and it was very successful. We are very grateful to the Westin for their staff and the venue and to our many volunteers who were so helpful.”
Don’t miss the chance to buy even more exciting packages during GHS’ After Auction auction on Tuesday, April 2. For details check out www.giffthillschool.org/auction.