For the Star Beacon
SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — On Nov. 30, St. John School held the 20th annual Festival of Trees. It is one of St. John’s biggest fund-raisers with almost 500 attendees. It is a festive night that kicks off the Christmas season, helping get everyone in the holiday spirit. It is always held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Our Lady of Peace Parish Community Center.
Under the leadership of Patti Andersen and Michelle Laveck, this year’s Festival of Trees raised almost $55,000 for the school. Many other parent and grandparent volunteers made the evening a success. Generous donations from individuals as well as businesses contributed to the success as well.
This year, 10 beautiful, fully decorated trees were auctioned off during a live auction, led by alumna host, Jayne Colin Currie, class of 1966. The live auction also included three different vacation packages and a wide variety of large and small gift items including a big screen television, Coach purse, wine fridge and Ohio State memorabilia autographed by Ohio State University head football coach and 1982 St. John alumnus, Urban Meyer.
The Festival of Trees also hosts silent and Chinese auctions. Gift baskets, hand crafted items and homemade Christmas cookies made by many volunteer students and parents were part of these auctions. Each class put together a gift basket with a different category. Some of the different categories included Movie Night, Gift Cards, Fun in the Snow and Guys Night Out.
Guests enjoyed a lovely dinner prepared by Herald Bob Dille and his staff. Many students volunteer to help with Festival of Trees. Most of the volunteers were juniors and seniors who have had past experiences with different fund-raisers and organizations. They had several essential jobs which included serving the food, working the coat closet and running the receipts. The students enjoyed participating in the event.
Junior Ali Rocco said, “Seeing all of the people there that wanted to help my school was incredibly heartwarming.”