About 150 people attend the Denim & Dining 2022 fundraiser for the Hoover City Schools Foundation

About 150 people attended the Hoover City Schools Foundation’s annual Denim and Dining fundraiser in Aldridge Gardens on Friday night to raise money to fund teacher grants for innovative classroom projects.

The net amount raised had not been calculated Friday evening, but the foundation’s executive director, Shelley Shaw, said she knew the group had exceeded its goal of raising at least $30,000. Sponsors contributed $15,000, and a silent auction, ticket sales and other donations raised at least $15,000 more, Shaw said. Additionally, a direct appeal for donations at the event raised $7,580 from 20 donors, and a live auction raised $5,225 for the foundation. There were still a few bills to pay, so a final net total was not yet available.

The highlight of the evening was the live auction led by auctioneer Lou Dempsey. The biggest moneymaker was a Caribbean vacation package with a seven-night stay at the Hammock Cove villa resort in Antigua, which sold at auction for $1,200. Close behind was another Caribbean vacation package with seven to 10 nights at a beachfront resort in St. Lucia, which went for $1,100.

A dinner for eight at The Bright Star restaurant in Bessemer sold at auction for $700, while a private dinner for six to eight at Hometown Fare in Ross Bridge sold for $575. A round of golf and lunch for two with sportscasters Lauren Sisler and Jim Dunaway at Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf Resort went for $500, while a round of golf for four at Greystone Golf and Country Club sold for $450. $.

A framed photo of former Alabama Heisman winners Devontae Smith and Bryce Young, signed by both players and coach Nick Saban, was auctioned off for $400, while another framed and autographed photo of Young left for $300.

The silent auction included items such as a football autographed by UAB coach Bill Clark, Jenny Cash artwork, Idelwild jewelry, tickets to the Regions Tradition golf tournament, a Caribbean getaway at Club Barbados Resort, an Iron Bowl 2019 portrait, photography and yoga sessions and a year of ice cream from The Whole Scoop ice cream parlour.

Shaw and President Jason DeLuca thanked attendees and sponsors for supporting the work of the foundation. Tickets for the event cost at least $75 and included a barbecue dinner from Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-BQ and a dessert and coffee bar set up by the Culinary and Hospitality Academy at the Riverchase Career Connection Center.

Music for the evening was provided by Ben and Jenna Kuykendall.

Dil Uswatte, Principal of Rocky Ridge Elementary School, shared with the audience how the foundation’s grants have been, and will continue to be, very beneficial to children at Hoover Schools.

In the past, the foundation funded a project that allowed students at select schools to build a fleet of fully functional and safe hovercraft, Uswatte said. Not only was it great fun and full of science, technology, engineering, and math curricula; it also helped students develop soft skills such as communication and problem solving, she said.

She read a statement from a Gwin elementary teacher, Kelley Feagin, who said the hovercraft project gave students the opportunity to develop 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and persistence and taught students not only how to value learning, but also how to have and nurture deep self-worth.

The foundation has committed $25,000 this year to make the Hovercraft Project available to every fifth grader at every Hoover Elementary School, Uswatte said.

To learn more about the Hoover City Schools Foundation, visit hoovercsf.org.

About Harold Shirley

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