Linking alumni with current, future students

Alumni of the St. Edmond Schools are being asked to pass their knowledge – and their checkbooks – forward.

Organizers of the Friends of St. Edmond Ball aim to raise funds with the annual event on Saturday, but they also want to provide young pupils with a sense of support and guidance from those with experience.

The evening of dinner and dancing will be held at the Best Western Starlite Inn & Suites and offer a night of entertainment to the school system’s family, friends and community supporters.

But, Amy Palmer and Barb O’Connor – who serve as co-chairs along with their husbands Dr. Bob O’Connor and Luke Palmer, said it will also serve a deeper purpose, one reflected in the theme of “remembering the past, looking forward to the future.”

Both Palmer and O’Connor have younger children in the school system and said when considering the focus of St. Edmond’s largest fundraising event, they felt it was important to provide their children with a sense of history, as well as passing on the lessons and experiences that enabled past students to excel.

“We are remembering the groundwork that was laid and fostering our youth so our success can continue in the future,” Palmer said.

O’Connor agreed, adding “we are looking to those successful graduates from the past and asking them to help provide the same opportunity for success that they had to future students.”

To provide those opportunities, funds need to be raised and that is done through appealing offerings during the ball’s silent and live auctions, as well as the annual car raffle.

The grand prize for the raffle is a choice of one of four new vehicles, a 2014 Toyota Camry LE from Fort Dodge Fort Lincoln Toyota, a 2014 Jeep Cherokee from Shimkat Motor Company, a 2014 Chrysler 200 from Champion Chrysler, or a 2014 Chevrolet Cruz from Kemna Auto.

Second place in the raffle is $2,500 worth of floor covering from Carpet World Flooring America and third place is $1,500 of groceries from Hy-Vee. Fourth place is $1,000 cash.

Among the items up for auction will be a $1,000 scholarship to Iowa Central Community College, a bottle of wine a month for a year along with a basket of wine and treats, a gourmet dinner for eight prepared by the pastors of Holy Trinity Parish, a designer purse, three packages of prime beef, a set of tires, and a clothes washer and dryer.

Also offered is one week’s use of a villa in Manzanillo, Mexico, a week’s use of a lake home on Sun Valley Lake south of Winterset, and the Players PGA Tour golf experience 2015 package for four which includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the PGA event at Sawgrass Stadium Course in PonteVerda, Fla.

“Every year we have an offering of really nice trips,” O’Connor said. “We get a real variety of nice items, actually. Sometimes people can be scared off when they see some of the things up for bid. They think they can’t afford anything, but there really is something for everyone.”

Providing the music for the evening will be the Brian Kinney Band, a Twin City ensemble featuring vocalists and musicians who have performed with stars such as Bonnie Raitt, Prince, Fairchild and Rupert’s Orchestra.

They have also recorded pieces with big names that include B.B. King, Natalie Cole, Janet Jackson, The Beach Boys, Celine Dion, Huey Lewis, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Michael Bolton, and Smokey Robinson.

Together for more than 15 years, the Brian Kinney Band has a song list that spans the spectrum of rhythm and blues jazz, swing, rock & roll, funk, Latin and reggae.

“They have been at the ball before,” O’Connor said. “They are a lot of fun. Everybody is really excited and can’t wait to dance to them.”

The doors open for the event at 5 p.m. A buffet will dinner will be offered from 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed by music and dancing. A break in the activity will take place and the live auction will be held at 8 p.m.

The band will resume the stage and the entertainment will continue until 10:30 p.m. when the drawings for the car and tuition scholarships will be conducted.

Music will then play until the evening ends at midnight.