Grant Watts gets ready and set for its 15th Annual Spring Auction, 'Growing Our School Together'
by: Darryl Swan GROWING — Students at Grant Watts display some of the wares available for bid at this year’s auction.

The benefits to Grant Watts Elementary School students resulting from the school's annual fundraiser auction are too many to list.

In one case the fundraiser had attracted enough cash to backfill the salary for a teacher whose position would otherwise have been trimmed. Often, it is the funding backbone for educational events frequently left behind in budget-cutting scenarios. Just recently it paid for students to attend the Portland Symphony, and in the past it bolstered trips to the Oregon Zoo, OMSI and Franz Bakery in Portland.

'We saw all the bread that they make and how they make it,' says second-grader Grace Negelspach, 7, who was able to aptly demonstrate the Franz Bakery wave - an act of making the letter 'F' in sign language and shaking your hand up and down - alongside classmates Taylor LaMont, 8, and Corbin Johns, 8.

The fundraiser has also paid for entire classes to take swimming lessons, programs such as Junior Great Books and provides $250 for supplies to each classroom.

Last year the Grant Watts Parents Organization that organizes the event raised $25,000. This year the stakes are higher, which are reflected in the $30,000 goal.

'We pretty much fill in all the [budget] gaps,' says Wela Negelspach, GWPO president. This is Negelspach's third year in the organization and her first as president.

Though she points out that funding GWPO-provided allows Grant Watts students to participate in school events that are both fun and informative, it can also lead to better interaction among students.

Grant Watts Principal Dana Larson says some of the money raised will go toward compensating a playground coach during recess. The role of a playground coach is to make sure students play well together, and ultimately to cut down on bullying and other conflict that could trickle into the classroom and have a negative effect on learning.

This is the fundraiser's 15th year, an anniversary Negelspach said is hugely significant for the organization and the school it supports.

'It's a big milestone for us,' she says. '[The auction] has grown from a small little thing to a big production.'

Check it out

What: Grant Watts Parent Organization 15th Annual Spring Auction, with the theme 'Growing Our School Together'

When: Saturday, April 9. Doors open at 4 p.m., starting with three silent auctions. Live auction begins at 7:15 p.m.

Admittance: Free. Lasagna dinner with salad and bread available for $10 per person. Dinner served at 6:15 p.m.

Where: Otto Petersen Elementary School, 52050 SE 3rd St., Scappoose

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