Gifft Hill School’s 28th Annual Auction Set for March 8 at Caneel Bay Resort


One of the island’s most hotly-anticipated fundraising events of the year is drawing near, and promises to be a night to remember.

The 28th Annual Gifft Hill School Auction is Saturday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. and while this year’s event is in a new venue, residents can expect the same exciting opportunities to support the St. John private school’s scholarship fund.

“This is the first time in many, many years that we’re having the auction at Caneel Bay Resort,” said Molly Murrill, GHS’ assistant to the development director.

With renovations planned for the school’s usual auction home at the Westin Resort and Villas conference rooms, Caneel Bay officials stepped in to offer their facilities, explained Murrill.

“Everyone at Caneel has been great and everyone at the Westin is being just as helpful as always to help us make the event a success,” she said.

While GHS looks forward to returning the auction to the Westin next year, the event’s new site offers long-time organizers an exciting change.

“We’re excited for the new venue,” said Murrill. “We’ll be down at the beach terrace and we’ll definitely use the pretty breeze-way area as well.”

Back for the fifth year in row is professional auctioneer husband and wife team Darron and Hope Meares of Bowtie Benefit Auction who will lead the entertaining live auction portion of the night.

“Our auctioneer team is returning again this year from South Carolina and volunteering their services,” Murrill said. “They love doing this event and they love coming to St. John. They really believe in what we’re doing and we’re so excited to have them back.”

Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception and silent auction kicking off at 5:30 p.m. with the chance to bid on a variety of items and peruse work by this year’s featured artists. Don’t miss the chance to bid on artwork by painter Lucy Portluck, sculptor, jeweler and automata creator Kim Nogueira, ceramicist Kaye Thomas, geo-kinetic sculptor Larry Lipsky and print-maker Carson Tredgett.

Silent auction items available for bid range from gift certificates to local restaurants and shops to jewelry, boat trips and more.

Before dinner and the live auction get under way, at 7:30 and 8 p.m. respectively, guests will have the opportunity to support the school in several fun games.

The GHS Auction will feature the popular “Golden Ticket” raffle again this year, Murrill explained.

“We will again be offering our $100 Golden Tickets and we will release the list of prizes this week,” she said. “This is the first thing that happens during the live auction and the winner gets to choose from any of the prizes on our list, which includes most of the live auction items. And you don’t have to be present to win.”

There will only be 200 Golden Tickets sold and the prize list promises to include luxurious vacation packages. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for GHS students and faculty selling Golden Tickets at The Marketplace, Murrill added.

There will also be a special jewelry raffle at the event, Murrill explained.

“We’re going to do the jewelry raffle again this year with a beautiful sapphire bracelet from R&I Patton,” she said. “The tickets for that are $25 each and you get a glass of fine wine, champagne or a speciality cocktail made by one of our fabulous teacher/bartenders. That happens during the live auction and you do have to be present to win.”

The Wall of Wine game will be featured at the auction again this year as well. In order to get in the game, guests must first buy a $50 blinkie light. Then later in the evening Darron Meares leads the Heads and Tails game, where players must make the call by placing their hands on their heads or their bums. 

Players who guess wrong must sit down until eventually only one person is left standing, and taking home a wine collection to be envied by any oenophile.

Sure be a new hit this year is a photo booth courtesy of photographer Savanah Loftus where guests can mug for the camera with a variety of props.

Renowned local videographer Steve Simonsen is busy wrapping up his always poignant GHS video presentation, Murrill added.

And of course the live auction itself will feature exciting travel packages ranging from an African Safari to a week in idyllic Maine. GHS supporters who can’t make it to the event can get online and bid on the live auction items and even outright purchase a few, Murrill explained.

“We have a lot of trips lined up already for the live auction from a cruise to the African trip, several Westin and Sheraton stays and boat trips,” said the GHS assistant to the development director.

Some of the exciting sports packages and special event trips often featured in the live auction are lined up as well, Murrill added.

“We have a trip to the World Cup in Brazil and a trip to the practice round of The Masters,” she said. “We also have a trip to the Telluride Film Festival and a weekend in New York City with Broadway show tickets and tickets to a Yankees game.”

And the fun won’t end when the last bid package is won. Motu will host the GHS Auction After Party which will feature DJ Top Notch, plenty of dancing and fabulous drinks.

While there are many exciting happenings planned for the 28th Annual GHS Auction, it’s important to remember how vital the funds are to the school, Murrill explained.

“We have a wonderful group of 170 students in pre-K through 12th grade and all the proceeds we raise at the auction support the scholarship fund which benefits the entire student body” said Murrill.

Tickets to the auction are $150 each or buy a 10 seat table for $1,250. Tickets are available online at, or call the school at (340) 776-1735. Also online, check out the packages already available for bid and to purchase.