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Thanks for making second annual ‘Reach for the Stars’ such a success!

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The communities of Groton and Dunstable have done it again! Over 200 guests turned out this past Saturday evening to support our public schools by joining the Groton-Dunstable Education Foundation for our second annual Reach for the Stars Benefit Auction, March 14 at the Groton School.

Thanks to attendees and our generous business donors, we’re very happy to report that the event was a resounding success again this year, raising an estimated $25,000 in much-needed funds for enrichment grants to district schools, especially critical at a time when budgets are being strained.

The GDEF board of directors extends its sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of this event — the attendees, our generous auction donors and event sponsors, and our many hard-working volunteers. Our thanks go out to the administrators, teachers and staff of the GDRSD for their overwhelming support of GDEF and of this event, and thanks to the Groton School for their hospitality in allowing us the use of their beautiful dining hall. We’re also grateful to Dawn and Levent Bozkurt of the Stonehedge Inn & Spa, Tyngsboro, for once again generously hosting the wine sampling table, to John Madigan of the Groton Market for again hosting the beer sampling, and to Shaw’s Groton for donating the bottles of spring water.

In this difficult economy, we’re truly encouraged by the outpouring of support we received from over 100 area businesses and individuals who so kindly donated amazing items and services to be auctioned off, and to our guests who bid so generously for the benefit of our schools. Unfortunately, we cannot list all our wonderful donors here, but a complete list can be found on our Web site at www.gdefinc.org.

Among the items auctioned off this year were over 20 unique pieces of “Country Cow” art, creatively decorated by students in our district with the help of their art teachers, and by the talented professional artists of the Dunstable Artisans. A huge thanks to the students and their art teachers — Carol Case, Susan Daugherty, Cynthia Goddard, Katy Grutchfield, Jodi Stoddard and Victoria Yoakum, and to Dunstable Artisans — Carol Babineau, Wendy Baird, Joyce Frederick, Anne Hanson, Cassie & Lydia Harris, Betsy Kenney, Ann-Marie LaBolitta, Rita Ojanen, Janice Toth and George Witham, as well as to Chelmsford Holdings LP and Sherburne Lumber of Tyngsboro for donating materials for the cows.

GDEF also extends a special thanks to our event sponsors whose generous contributions helped defray event costs: Groton Medical Associates LLC (Drs. Christiansen, Goodman and Heinser); Kitchen Art of New England, Groton; MJR Engineering Company Inc., Pepperell; Outdoor Connections LLC (billboard sales for New England), Groton; and Workers Credit Union of Groton.

Thanks also to the following for their help making the event festive and successful: Bear Graphics & Communications of Groton for designing our new Web site and the event program; Sheila Schwabe for designing event fliers and posters; Lavender of Groton for the lovely floral arrangements; Jeanne Schmidt for beautifully decorating the venue; auctioneer Jeff March for calling the live auction so professionally; and to Jane Bouvier of Around Town, the Groton Herald, the Groton Landmark, Neighbor-to-Neighbor and the Lowell Sun for publicity.

GDEF also wishes to thank the many dedicated event volunteers who stepped up to help: Saaid Arshad, Emily Bishop, Diane Cao, Mary Ellen Cappucci, Christina & Stephanie Cappucci, April Cho, Andy Connerty, Heather Eldredge, Jackie & Bill Estes, Beth Falkner, Vin Figueroa, Susanna Gallant, Karen Johnson, Laura Mann, Lisa & Paul Murray, Jon & Nick Morgan, Phil Pratt, Molly & Sally Pratt, Karen Scammell, Elizabeth & Ciara Selders, Kim Sheffield, Steve and Caroline Smith, Marcia Styskal, Lisa teDuits, Jake & Max Wertheimer and Rachel Zanotta.

The Ed Foundation is currently reviewing 21 new grant applications recently received from district teachers for our spring cycle, totaling an unprecedented $90,000 in funding requests. An independent panel, including educators from outside the district, will make recommendations to the GDEF board of directors, who will vote on grants in early April. Grants will be awarded in mid-April. Thanks to everyone who supported our auction, GDEF is now in a stronger financial position to fund more of these worthwhile programs.

Once again, sincere thanks to everyone who joined with the Ed Foundation to make this event such a success, raising funds for classroom grants which help our district students “Reach for the Stars!”

Sincerely,

GDEF BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Cheryl Smith (event chairman), Cheryl Scammell (auction chairman), Kerri Figueroa, Bea Alice Loos, Lorrie Morgan, Betsy Pratt, Janet Sheffield and Kristen Stone