story and photos by Brittany Ransom
Trinity Junior High School in Fort Smith welcomed hundreds of guests on Saturday (Feb. 1) evening as the school hosted its annual "Celebrate Trinity" event. Parents, staff, and other supporters turned out for the "Casino Night" themed fundraiser which featured Vegas-style gaming, auctions, gourmet food, and live music.
The evening kicked off with a lavish buffet dinner that included festive "James Bond" courses. "Moneypenny" egg rolls, "Skyfall" shrimp and "Thunderball" pork tenderloin were served, along with "Golden Eye" green bean bundles, "Moonraker" caviar and "Diamonds are Forever" desserts.
Craps, roulette, and black jack tables were located throughout the school's event center. Knights of Columbus members worked the games, serving as dealers. Guests could also test their luck in the 50/50 card raffle, and in the tuition drawing, which offered $20 chances to win an entire year of free Trinity tuition.
More than 100 items filled the silent auction tables including gift baskets, jewelry, and autographed sports memorabilia. Unique artwork, home decor, and several tools were featured in the auction, as well.
This year's event also included a special Bond Mystery Game. For $20, participants could receive clues on their phone throughout the evening, via the Remind101 app. The first "spy" to decipher the clues was declared a true "00" and winner of the cash prize.
After dinner and the final rounds of gaming, the live auction got underway. Prize packages included a Kansas City Limo Trip for 12, a bathroom countertop remodel, a weeklong Florida condo stay, and several other big-ticket items. Emcee Daren Bobb announced the packages while auctioneer Tim Dunn oversaw the bidding.
Returning to Celebrate Trinity this year was the band Tragikly White. The group performed following the live auction.
Tickets for the event were $75 or $1,000 for tables of eight. Proceeds from "Celebrate Trinity" benefit the school and offset the cost of student tuition and general expenses. A portion is also used to award need-based scholarships to a select number of students.
"Tuition only covers 70% of the cost to educate students," said Becky Ahlert, Trinity Development Director. "The rest has to be raised."
The school has hosted "Celebrate Trinity" for more than 25 years. The event serves as the school's primary fundraiser and generates approximately $50,000 annually.
Trinity Junior High School is the only secondary Catholic school in Fort Smith, serving more than 230 students, grades seven through nine. The school has been in existence since 1986.