School turns to community for help

Paying for education one piece at a time

— In order to help raise teacher salaries and decrease student tuition, parents will present student arts and crafts and community gifts at tonight's 10th annual Christian Heritage School Auction.

Teacher salaries between $18,000 and $21,000 a year, and student tuitions ranging from $2,700 to $3,700, has made Christian Heritage School officials and parents look to the community for assistance.

Christian Heritage hopes to raise at least $50,000 at the auction set for 6:30 p.m. in the Sheraton Grand Ballroom.

For weeks, students from kindergarten through 12th grade have been constructing beaded mirrors, mosaics, chairs and woven baskets for the auction.

Monica Verploeg, mother of three Christian Heritage students and an organizer of the auction, said parents also are required to donate something.

To allow teachers to focus on their classrooms, parents have volunteered to organize this fundraiser/auction by visiting different community businesses and receiving donated gifts.

"The teachers already have enough to do. It's important for kids to see parents involved," Verploeg said. "The community donates an incredible amount. This helps pull the school and the community together."

Verploeg said she's bringing a basket filled with different pens and paints for a child to use. Other gifts donated, by those with children at the school and those without, include a trip to Hawaii, rounds of golf, handmade quilts, a beauty salon birthday party, horseback riding, and a motorcycle and an airplane ride, among others.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will showcase students giving musical performances, as well as short skits, Verploeg said. Instead of the banquet given in the first six years of the event, heavy hors d'oeuvres and desserts will be catered by the Sheraton.

With an enrollment of 116 students, the school's attempt to raise money each year helps many of the teachers receive benefits, like the addition of medical benefits this last year, said principal Betty Lockhart.

Kindergarten tuition this year is $2,700 with a $150 curriculum and activities fee; elementary tuition is $3,500 with a $350 fee; and secondary tuition, for those in seventh through 12th grade, is $3,700 with a $500 fee.

Lockhart said tuition doesn't cover all the costs, but the school plans its budget for donations and auction money raised.

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