GREENFIELD – Pizza, pulled pork, chicken wings and ice cream were a few of the offerings heaped atop Annie Cox’s plate as she navigated her way across the cafeteria at Greenfield-Central High School Saturday night.
The grandmother of three Greenfield-Central graduates was among hundreds of residents who showed up for Cougar Cuisine, an annual fundraiser organized by the high school athletic booster club that brings more than a dozen local restaurants into the high school to serve up meals. Proceeds from the event go toward scholarships for student athletes.
The dinner event coincides with a silent auction organized by the high school’s senior class council, which raises money that goes toward memorial scholarships in honor of former Greenfield-Central students Zach Lett, Ben Culver and Todd Lewis.
Members of the student class council collected hundreds of donations from organizations for the auction, from gift cards to area businesses to tickets for the upcoming junior prom.
Cox, whose oldest son knew Lewis, a 2006 graduate who died shortly after graduation from complications from a long battle with cancer, came out Saturday to show support for all three former students.
“What a great way to celebrate those kids while spending some time with some neighbors,” Cox said.
Lett was finishing his sophomore year at Greenfield-Central in 2003 when he died in a car crash. Culver died in a car crash in 2006, days after attending Lewis’ calling. He was a junior at Greenfield-Central at the time.
Nathan Bruck, an economics teacher at the high school and sponsor for the senior class council, said the event is a good way to support current students through scholarships while honoring the memories of Lett, Culver and Lewis.
“Those kids were leaders in the building,” Bruck said. “The community felt that loss.”
The joint fundraiser raised more than $8,500 in all; about $5,000 for the athletic booster club and more than $3,500 for the senior class council scholarships.
Fifteen local restaurants formed a line of booths in the cafeteria for hundreds of hungry guests to make their way through, tasting whatever looked delicious.
The vendors donated all food for the event.
A group of students from the high school’s culinary program — a newcomer to the event — underestimated their popularity. The group made more than 300 mini-cinnamon rolls for the event but had to bake another batch midway through to keep up with demand.
Jacob Bates, a junior in the program who plans to study food management in college, said the group’s popularity provided a telling learning experience.
“I think it shows that we can compete pretty well with some of these restaurants,” he said.