WATERMAN – The gymnasium at Indian Creek Middle School was packed with people participating in this year’s People-for-People Auction Sunday, sponsored by Indian Creek Community Concern for Children.
“This is our 30th year. The whole community comes out, or has donated,” said Susan Kauffman, president of the parent organization for the Indian Creek School District.
This year’s event featured more than 140 silent auction items and more than 130 live auction items donated by individuals and businesses in the community. The auction, which is always held on the second Sunday in March, is CCC’s only fundraising event of the year and proceeds are used to benefit dozens of classrooms and student activities at the middle school and high school.
“We have scholarships for our eighth graders to go to Washington, D.C., and we have bought a new projector and laptop for our new English teacher,” Kauffman said. Other purchases and donations include technology items, yearbooks and library books, picnics, dances, outdoor beautification, teacher allowances at the elementary schools, donations to the parent organizations at the elementary schools, and funds for virtually all extracurricular activities.
“We are volunteers for CCC because they give us money throughout the year,” said Dayna Anderson, co-president of the drama club at the high school in Shabbona. “They help us if we need new makeup or new lights.”
Members of the drama club and FFA walked each live auction item around the gym so potential bidders could get closer views of the items. As auctioneers from Almburg Auctioneering solicited bids, volunteer hawkers throughout the gym tried to encourage bidders in their section to place higher bids, and announced when a bidder placed new high bid.
“Sometimes our hawkers get a little crazy,” Kauffman said. Robert Boston said that his wife thinks he has been a hawker “for about 15 years.”
“Yes! Yes!” Boston shouted at the top of his lungs, waving a yardstick in the air when someone in his section placed a new high bid. With a twinkle in his eye and a smile, he encouraged bidders to raise their bids if someone in another section outbid them.
One item that attracted some of the highest bids of the day was a hope chest that was made by Sheldon Rueff of rural Chana, who donates handmade items to the auction every year. He built the chest from lumber that was salvaged from a hickory tree in his yard which was destroyed by wind. The chest, which he estimates took him more than 50 hours to make, was sold for $1,500.
“That’s about 10 times what I expected, but it will make a nice heirloom for somebody,” said Rueff, who attended Indian Creek schools as a child.
Lunch was sold by the district’s music boosters, which split the day’s proceeds evenly between CCC and the music program.
“I have worked at this since middle school,” said senior Khloe Gordon, a member of the high school band. “We use the money for instruments, uniforms and to pay for travel for trips.”
After his shift of auctioneering, Steve Almburg reflected on the event while his son Andrew Almburg took over the auctioneering duties.
“Every year the people are really great,” Almburg said. “I am really impressed with how generous the community is when it comes together and chips in for the school district.”