Sacred Heart has fingers crossed

Published 10:04 am Friday, February 13, 2009

Sour economy, rising costs every where, declining enrollment, newscasts spreading gloom and doom.

Is Sean Kennedy worried about the outcome of Saturday night’s Winter Banquet fundraiser for Sacred Heart Catholic School?

“Every school is in the same boat with the economy today,” said Kennedy. “We’re all suffering.

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“There are people who love and support this school and this community who go above and beyond, when they are needed,” the Sacred Heart Catholic School principal said.

Last year, the fundraiser raised a record $55,000. Long-time volunteer and parent of two Sacred Heart students Shari Heimer said, “That was a fluke. We don’t expect to raise that much again, but we will take what we can get.”

According to Kennedy, funds from the Saturday auctions and banquet are needed.

“We will use whatever they raise to pay the bills,” he said matter-of-factly. “Our enrollment is down 8 or 10 students from last year.”

Volunteers, such as Heimer and her husband, Dave, are doing what they can to ensure the Winter Banquet is a success. Publicists Peggy Schmitz and Chris Shaw, also Sacred Heart students’ moms, are working hard to entice a record crowd to come and spend.

Ticket sales passed the 160 mark Tuesday, only 40 tickets short of the goal.

Fundraising fun

The Winter Banquet caps a day of fundraising fun, according to Schmitz and Shaw.

There will be a silent auction from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the school gymnasium, where the banquet will take place that night.

More than 300 items, including the always popular baskets designed and filled by Sacred Heart students, will be sold.

At night, there will be a banquet meal followed by a live auction, featuring Jim Sathre, well-known auctioneer.

Shaw, who is helping for the second consecutive year, said, the number of live auction items may be down from last year, but cash donations to the fundraiser are up.

The live auction lineup has some special items sure to loosen checkbooks from the grasp of guests, according to Shaw.

There are four Minnesota Wild hockey tickets with a parking pass; a Justin Moreau-autographed baseball bat; a half a beef and a whole hog; an original Julie Allen painting custom framed by Lou’s Custom Framing of Austin; 300 gallons of off-road diesel fuel; Minnesota Vikings football tickets; eight hours of shop time valued at $550 from Advanced Diesel; DeWalt tools from Shaw Custom Homes; two 250-gallon LP gas fills donated by Stacyville LP Service; a 96-by-112-inch hand-stitched quilt donated by Virginia Bissen and Marietta Braun; a huge basket of dairy products donated by Sathre Holsteins; and dozens more items.

Among the cash donations, a generous gift from Farmers State Bank of Elkton and Dexter.

If there is a favorite item to be auctioned, it’s the baskets designed and filled by Sacred Heart students.

This year, Sandy Jones, Sacred Heart’s art teacher, helped students paint reproductions of two impressionists: Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” plus two other art classics by Monet were group projects of the students.

“They did very, very good,” Jones said. “They love to paint and it shows.”

The students’ efforts are captured in 16-by-20-inch acrylic prints. All students in grades1 through 6 participated.

Another auction “sleeper” may be a genuine Heidi Ott collectible doll, vintage 1990s.

All of the live auction items will be on display from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, during the silent auction.

One of the ways the Winter Banquet organizers are attempting to offset the soft economy’s expected impact is a change in the annual raffle drawing.

“Instead of one really big prize this year, we are offering several large prizes,” Shaw said.

This year, the $10 raffle tickets will purchase a chance to win a grand prize of $1,500; one of four first prizes of $500; one of four second prizes of $200; or two third prizes of $100.

St. Thomas is


While Schmitz, Shaw, Heimer and the other volunteers share a nervous excitement about the St. Valentine’s Day fundraising fun coming to Adams and while Kennedy predicts Sacred Heart parents and alumni will come through once again for the school, there is one “hitch” this year: Tom Mullenbach won’t be there.

The beloved community organizer is hospitalized after suffering a stroke.

He graduated Sacred Heart in 1957 and helped write the school’s centennial history book in the new millennium.

Dubbed “St. Thomas,” Mullenbach is credited with “inventing” the original Casino Night fundraiser at the Adams American Legion Post in 1976.

Friends are inviting all to sign a scrapbook of Mullenbach’s 2006 trip to Washington, D.C., where he was a national finalist for a Jefferson Award for Public Service.

Mullenbach, wearing his familiar cap, was a behind-the-scenes Winter Banquet volunteer until being sidelined by health problems this year.

“We’re going to miss him,” said Heimer, speaking for all.

Mullenbach’s absence is all the more reason that auction-goers help make Kennedy’s “the people will come through” prediction come true.

“Sacred Heart only does two fundraisers each year,” Kennedy said.

“The bike-a-thon raised $26,000 and now we hope the Winter Banquet fundraiser will also be successful.”

The Winter Banquet social hour begins at 6 p.m. Saturday with the dinner at 7 p.m. and the live auction at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices are $45 each.

For more information, call Sacred Heart Catholic School at (507) 582-3120.