|Youngsters picking out prizes they have won.|
Those iconic three words, “Come on down!” echoed inside the Windham High School Performing Arts Center over and over - complete with the show’s theme music last Friday. The game show, “The Price is Right” took to the stage in an effort to raise money in support of Project Graduation 2017; a project in which all the seniors and their parents got together to raise money.
“Karen Petcher, Windham High School (WHS) math teacher, came up with the idea of ‘The Price is Right’ from a town she grew up in, so she pretty much ran everything that went on tonight,” explained Robin Mullins, co-chair for the Windham High School class of 2017 Project Graduation.
WHS has been doing projects like this for as long as Mullins can remember. “As a graduate of the high school in 1986, they had similar projects, but it wasn’t quite the same. We paid for it as a class and it was a little cruise around Casco Bay. This year will be something really special.” Usually kept as secret, students will not know what it is until graduation day. Keeping it a secret requires great willpower. “My daughter is graduating and I can’t even tell her, although several attempts have been made,” continued Mullins laughingly.
“We have to raise $30,000 for the trip and I am pretty sure that we are not only going to meet that goal but exceed it,” stated Mullins.
A year is all that Project Graduation committees have to raise funds because fundraising efforts cannot begin until the previous class is done with their projects. “So you literally have about nine to 10 months: plenty of time when parents contribute,” continued Mullins. “I think we have a really good group of kids and parents. If anything is needed they have been stepping up.” To this end Kudos also went to class advisor Kelly Anne Rush.
Among the contributors of donated time, was one of the announcers for items up for bid, Miss Maine 2017 Marybeth Noonan, who is no stranger to the limelight and speeches. “Part of my job is to represent the State of Maine,” Noonan explained. “How amazing is it to represent my high school? When in school, I was always in the theater and with the Chamber Singers, so this auditorium we’re standing in was like a second home. It’s so cool to be back here, giving back to the community.”
|One of the exciting games to play|
It was also her respect for producer Karen Petcher that prompted her participation. “Mrs. Petcher is putting this on and she is a great lady,” Noonan explained. “I wanted to support my class. I like to volunteer for most of the things for my class. I think it is important.” Noonan also credited her success to the school system.
In all, there were eight games played. Two wheel segments, with the top winning contestants and, the cream de la crème, the showcase showdown.
In between each of the eight games, the names of five children over the age of eight were called out. Excitement and applause ensued as they ran to a separate table where they could take a prize of their choice. While there was a sign held up during the event to encourage applause, clearly it was wasn’t necessary, right up until the very end.
Obviously enjoying her first ever attendance of a show like this, Debbie Payne who walked away as the overall winner of the evening, took home the coveted showcase, a five-night stay for a family of four at Point Sebago, a tube to be pulled behind a boat, two beach chairs, a cooler, S’more snacks, two beach towels, and a remote controlled boat.
“I was really excited about winning,” said Payne. Battling through a bit of nerves, she managed to make the bid without going over, but not before also scoring a few raffle drawings earlier. If there is another show again next year Payne will be there. “I absolutely will be back again,” she confirmed.
There were 150 donating businesses, encompassing most of Cumberland County that also made this event possible by providing the prizes. All of them that were not won, including the showcase, were raffled off at the end of the show. All proceeds from admission, concession and raffles will be applied to the project’s goal. “We are pretty close to hitting our goal right now so we are sure it will be exceeded from this night and the upcoming events,” shared Mullins.
Two more events are on tap with Project Graduation. One is Smitty’s Movie Night on April 13. As Mullins explains, “People basically receive a ticket. When they go to the movies the theater will receive $5 and we will receive $5. So it is pretty easy. All we do is hand out the tickets.” The other event is a Fun Run/Walk-5k and takes place on April 30.
Anything over and above the target goal of $30,000 will be donated to charities in the names of two students who will not be present. “There was a student who passed away while in fifth grade and another one more recent. Both would have been seniors this year. They’re in our hearts,” concluded Mullins.
FMI and to register for the 5k visit: www.facebook.com/events/303758143360715/
FMI on movie night visit: www.facebook.com/events/379385719095795/ and look in this or a future issue of The Windham Eagle for a coupon to clip out.