Annual school fundraising event features men in dresses, familiar table-runner bidding frenzyOnce a night of live music, science presentations, food and booze, auctions and just a bit of cross-dressing came to a close this weekend, the IKM-Manning Community School District’s parents, educators and supporters had once again raked in almost six figures for the district.
The fourth annual IKM-Manning Gala was held Saturday at the German Hausbarn Konferenz Centre in Manning. The event, which rotates between some of the district’s communities — it has been held in Irwin and Manilla in the past — raises funds for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programming as well as broader “21st-century learning” initiatives at the IKM-Manning Community School District. This year’s event, at last count, raised about $90,000.
The past three events combined raised more than $200,000 for the district.
Of that, about $170,000 so far has been distributed back to the schools in grants that have helped fund a 3-D printer, “genius kits,” stand-up desks, iPads, STEM kits, software and curriculum, entirely new classes and more, with the rest to be distributed in the future.
A dinner catered by Lidderdale Country Store was served at the event, which also featured live music from Harlan-based rock and country cover band Mighty Mayhem.
As with past galas, silent and live auctions that featured many items made by STEM students at the schools or related to STEM initiatives greatly increased the evening’s fundraising take.
Local “celebrities” — Andy Eischeid, Bob Vonnahme, Larry Hagedorn and Ridge Muhlbauer — donned dresses and strutted their stuff to model and sell four purses, which in total raised $825 during the live auction.
Other big sellers were a metal flower stand created by IKM-Manning senior Austin Ahrenholtz, a 10-by-12 yard shed that will be built by students and a travel voucher for a trip to Cabo, all of which sold for $3,000 each.
And the star of the live auction, as it has been each year, was an inconspicuous IKM-Manning Wolves-printed cloth table runner, just a few feet across. In what has become a Gala tradition, attendees bid on the item and then returned it for another round of bidding. The process has grown to include dozens of “bidders” who pay for the item but go home without it so that it can be brought out again the following year.
This year, about 30 people contributed to the funds brought in through the table runner, raising $6,250 in about 10 minutes. Overall, the piece of cloth has raised more than $12,000 for the district.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who has raved about IKM-Manning’s STEM programs in the past, was unable to attend the Gala but recorded a video to be played at the event.
“Your investment of time, talents and treasures on Main Street, in local businesses and especially in education are preparing the next generation to lead small-town Iowa — and that’s so important, because we know strengthening rural Iowa starts right here and is reinforced through these types of events,” Reynolds said. “Your ongoing collaboration between businesses, the community and the school empowers IKM-Manning’s young people to strive for the skills that they need to succeed.”
IKM-Manning educators spoke to the crowd about ways past Gala funds have benefited their classes, including through the creation of a class that has students work directly with local businesspeople, plans for a “makerspace” at the middle school that would allow students to create a variety of items and complete a number of projects, a unit on the forces of flight for elementary-school students that culminate in the creation and test-flying of gliders and more.
“Without all your guys’ donations and hard work to support the community, we wouldn’t be able to do all this,” IKM-Manning Superintendent Trevor Miller said.
Link to story and more pictures