St. John auction will help fund repairs at school

NORTH CHARLESTON — Weekend getaways, restaurant gift certificates, compact disc players and a week at basketball camp are just a few of the items that will be auctioned off on March 20 to benefit St. John School.

The silent and live auction will be held in Building 400 on the old Naval Base, less than a mile from the school.

The auction, themed “Up, Up and Away,” is the first of its kind held by the school, and organizers look forward to raising funds for much-needed school repairs. The monetary goal for the event is $30,000 and includes corporate donations.

“We are going into the auction with several thousand dollars from corporate donors,” said Mary Coffey, event co-chairman. “As a token of our appreciation, they will be included in all of our public announcements and our auction booklet.”

Each of the school’s classes will be creating personalized items for the fundraiser.

“The kids are painting a mission bench, a rocking chair, a wheelbarrow,” said Coffey. “Each teacher received $25 to get the project started. The parents have been working with the teachers. The items will be personalized, so parents always love these the most.”

Overall, nearly 200 items have come in, thanks to generous donations from the school’s 57 families.

“We asked each family to bring in at least three items,” said Carol Anne White, the principal. “The items are either handmade, donated, or solicited from area businesses. The families have been wonderful in helping out. We really hope to do well with this fund raiser.”

According to White, the school’s en-rollment has decreased over the years because of the Naval Base closure.

The school tries to maintain relatively small classes to ensure that students receive individual attention.

“Parents really believe in what we do here,” said White. “We cater to children with needs. Not necessarily special needs, but children who do better in this environment.”

White said that unlike many private schools, there is no entrance exam requirement at St. John.

“We are open to anyone with a need,” she said. “We try to guide children in doing their best at their own pace. We are definitely trying to increase enrollment, though. The problem we are facing is that we don’t want to out-price what the parents can pay, but we just have so many repairs that have to be made.”

“This school has certainly helped my granddaughter,” said Coffey, who does whatever she can to help the school raise funds. “If the school closed I don’t know what many of these children would do.”

The projects that White hopes to tackle with the funds from the auction include putting air conditioning in the classrooms, fixing some ceiling problems, rebuilding some benches outside the school, and replacing all of the linoleum and windows throughout the building.

“Replacing the windows is a huge job,” said White. “We really need to do these things.”

With the auction just days away, organizers are putting the last-minute touches on an important event for St. John’s.

“We are selling tickets for $10 per person. They can be purchased from the school or at the door the night of the auction,” said Coffey. “The family who sells the most tickets will receive free tuition for one child for a month.”

The event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and soft drinks.

For more information on the auction, or to make a tax-deductible  individual or corporate donation, contact Mary Coffey at (843) 571-4193 or St. John School at (843) 744-3901.