GREENFIELD — Teachers, parents and supporters of the Mt. Vernon Community School Corp. came together Thursday night to raise money toward enhancing their students’ experience.
The seventh-annual Taste of Mt. Vernon, which brought more than 325 people to Adaggio’s banquet hall, every year serves as one of the largest fundraisers for the education foundation, said its executive director, Renee Oldham. Thursday night’s event combined sample-sized portions of food from area restaurants with an online-based silent auction in the hopes of raising at least $25,000.
Since the creation of the foundation in 2008, dollars raised by the foundation have gone toward more than $200,000 in grants to Mt. Vernon schools, funding everything from books and iPads in classrooms to helping teachers continue learning through educational conferences, Oldham said.
Eleven food vendors dished out food ranging from ribs to cannoli as those who attended used their smartphones to bid on the dozens of auction items donated by area businesses. For the first time, several local breweries, including Scarlet Lane Brewery, joined the restaurants serving a sampling of their goods.
Taste of Mt. Vernon is a favorite event among supporters of the foundation, said McCordsville town manager Tonya Galbraith, who attended Thursday.
“There’s so much energy and joy that helps the teachers do cool things for the students,” she said. “It’s just a really fun event.”
Mike Staton attended Taste of Mt. Vernon for probably the fifth time — he can’t keep count — on Thursday. His three children have attended Mt. Vernon schools, and he likes to use the event to mingle with other parents.
“It’s a good time to get together and socialize … outside of sporting events,” he said.
Board members of the education foundation encouraged those who attended the event to download the auction app and bid generously, reminding them of the importance of their mission.
Oldham said people who are students now are statistically expected to change careers five to seven times, perhaps even switching career paths entirely. She said one of the foundation’s aims is to encourage students to be resilient and flexible.
Oldham remembered a time, in another school district, when she was at a kindergarten roundup event. One prospective kindergarten student said she wanted to go to college, but her mother told her they weren’t the kind of people who go to college.
That hurt Oldham, because she was once that little girl no one expected to pursue an education beyond high school, she said, adding that she’s about to earn her second degree from Indiana University this year.
The foundation wants to use its grants to transform the lives of students — from those struggling to reach grade level to the district’s highest achievers, she said.
“It takes a ‘we,’” she said. “We need the shared vision of the community.”