Annual Scholarship Gala funds for students

by: JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Editorial Assistant 

An opportunity to affect the lives of current and future students for South Plains College is the goal of the 18th Annual Scholarship Gala.

The Gala will be held on Feb. 27 at the Physical Education Complex on the Levelland Campus, with the focus on raising funds for college scholarships.

The evening starts at 6 p.m. The dinner, which is being catered by Great Western Dining, starts at 6:30 p.m. The event has no scheduled end time, but is approximately three hours long.

After the multi-course meal, there will be a silent auction with multiple items, a raffle featuring a football autographed by Kliff Kingsbury, a live auction with a Paul Wylie bronze sculpture among other items, and a live performance by country artist Jerrod Niemann.

Niemann is a former student who attended SPC from 1997 to 1999 and has had great success on the country music scene. He has released three albums, with six Top 40 entries and the number-one hit single, “Lover, Lover.”

During his live performance, a handmade, one-of-a-kind guitar made by D Grimes, who has crafted guitars for the Gala in the past, will be showcased. After the performance, there will be a live auction for the guitar.

The raffle has several more prizes, and the first three winners get to choose one of three prizes. The first winner has three choices, second winner has two choices, and the last prize will go to the third winner.

During the event, the previous year’s highest donors are awarded the Pacesetter Award.

For this year, the award goes to The Center for Global Understanding, Xcel Energy, and Mrs. Audie Sonnenburg.

To also help raise money, sponsorship tables are also being sold at the event. The tables range from $100 to $5,000.

The smallest table has one seat. The silver table has four seats, and the gold has eight seats. The platinum is a table for 10. Diamond is a table for 10 with preferred seating, and the largest is two tables for 10 with premium seating.

Each table also comes with additional perks. The more expensive the table is, the more perks are added. All sponsorships must be paid by April 1.

Among their other fundraisers, such as the Golf Scramble, the Gala is the largest fundraiser for the SPC Foundation, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to scholarships.

To boost the amount of funds from the donors and bidders, students and alumni are welcome to volunteer and attend the event.

The theme for this year’s gala is focused on unity and opportunity, which aims to unite the community for the opportunity to help the many students who walk on the SPC campus.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development at SPC, helps plan the night and is excited about the event.

“We bring people to the Scholarship Gala to get a feel for what South Plains College is doing – how we are changing lives – and how they can be a part of it,” Gerstenberger said.

Last semester, fall 2015, a newsletter was sent to all who had donated, sponsored, volunteered, and attended the Scholarship Gala. Inside the letter was a short story of how the money benefited student Austin Via Gomez and how attending college has changed his life for the better.

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