Gifft Hill School Hoping for Best Year Yet at 26th Annual Auction, Set for March 10th

Guests should be ready for another fun-filled live auction at GHS’ 26th annual gala on March 10.

The entire St. John community is invited to help Gifft Hill Students “Bloom and Grow” at the school’s 26th annual gala and auction on Saturday, March 10, at the Westin Resort.

The Bloom and Grow theme highlights the school’s Education and Resiliency Through Horticulture program, a partnership with Iowa State that promotes sustainability among GHS students.

And along the lines of sustainability, the island’s only private school is also working to ensure the auction is as environmentally friendly as possible, starting with the invitations and response cards, explained Molly Murrill of the GHS development office.

“Our invitations were printed with plantable seed paper, so people can plant their invitations at home,” said Murrill. “All the response cards sent back to us will be planted by our EARTH program students.”

The auction’s dinner menu, a buffet created by the Westin’s executive chef, will be inspired by local ingredients as much as possible, and some of the auction packages will reflect a focus on the environment and sustainability.

Event-goers can expect to be dazzled by the auction items, which include everything from jewelry donated by R&I Patton to trips to Washington, D.C., New York, Colorado, and even Africa.

Pre-bidding is expected to begin this week on the school’s web site,

Golden tickets will be sold for $100, and the winner of the golden ticket raffle, which is drawn at the beginning of the evening, can choose from the list of travel packages, meaning a trip to Africa could be scored for just $100.

Local items up for bid include a sunset sail on Kekoa, a Mongoose Junction shopping spree, and a catered dinner by Mathayom Private Chefs.

Auctioneer Darron Meares of Meares Auction Group will return for the third year in a row to get the crowd hyped up and excited about bidding, and if last year’s final tally of more than $170,000 raised is any indication, Meares has what it takes to encourage the community to support education on St. John.

“More than 60 percent of our students are on tuition assistance,” said Murrill. “Our students need a lot of financial help. The auction is our biggest fundraising event of the year.”

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a champagne reception and silent art auction, where works by 10 featured artists, in every medium from photography to ceramics to paintings, will be up for bidding. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., and the live auction begins at 8 p.m.

The event ends at 10 p.m., but the party doesn’t stop there — it just moves over to La Plancha for the after-party, complete with a DJ and even more raffle prizes.

“It’s a really fun, elegant event that supports education on St. John, specifically our scholarship and tuition assistance programs,” said Murrill. “A lot of people who attend aren’t even affiliated with the school. They just come because it’s a way to be involved in the community and have a really good time.”

Tickets are $125 apiece, or $1,000 for a table, and seats sell out fast. To book your spot at the event, contact Murrill at 776-1730 or