The annual event, which features cakes made by members of the community which are then auctioned off to raise money for the school’s athletic department, had their best ever showing last Wednesday, Jan. 30, when they raised about $8,000 for school athletics. This windfall comes on the heels of a Jan. 27 announcement for the modernization of the school, making it a week of good news for staff, students, and the community.
“I think the announcement opened everybody’s wallets a little more,” said Aaron Edlund, a teacher at the school and one of the coaches. “It was easily our best cake auction.”
The auctioneer for the event was Hank Domolewski, and cakes were auctioned off during the halftime of the junior girls game against W.R. Myers, during a break between the games, and the last few cakes went during halftime of the junior boys game against Gilbert Paterson Middle School. The girls won their game, but the boys lost.
The big winner of the evening, however, was Helen Erickson’s red velvet cake, which went for $1,525.
It was the second-last cake of the evening to be auctioned and the final price earned a standing ovation from the crowd. Erickson is currently going through chemotherapy for cancer, and Edlund said he didn’t ask her to make a cake this year because of how taxing the therapy is. Edlund said he made the challenge to the crowd that if a cake went for at least $1,000, he would shave his head. The crowd was more than willing to accept that challenge, and then some.
“I think with the loss of Brynn Lund in the fall, anything to do with cancer in the town of Barnwell, people are right there ready to help out and be there for each other,” said Edlund, referring to the former Barnwell student who succumbed to cancer in late 2013, and who has since become a source of inspiration for the school and the town.
The funds are raised to help with the cost of athletics at the school, such as paying for new uniforms, covering tournament entry fees, and transportation to games. Instead of doing fundraising throughout the year with door-to-door activities, Edlund said the school does all their fundraising on one night.
“This has been really embraced by the community,” he said. “In my research, I’m proud to say Barnwell athletic fees are the cheapest in the province, and it would be a direct correlation to the cake auction. It pays practically all our bills.”