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Superintendent's Gala held

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By Claude Lewis

The music provided by the Chiefland High jazz band was light and airy as more than 200 people filed into the Williston Middle School's sparkling Cafetorium last Saturday night.

The vegetable, cheese and fruit spread complemented by a punch fountain drew folks together to mingle before the main event - the 2008 Superintendent's Gala.

The formal gathering was treated to a sit-down dinner catered by Williston High's culinary arts class.

The annual Superintendent's Gala is a major fund-raiser for the Levy County Schools Foundation, which awards scholarships to county students.

Last year, the Foundation handed out close to $40,000 to help high school graduates further their education.

"This was our eighth successful Gala," said Levy School Superintendent Cliff Norris. "The student entertainment was the highlight. When we first started, we had interesting speakers, but it transitioned to student entertainment. I think it was a memorable experience for those in attendance."

Dr. Norris hit the nail on the head.

The theme was "An Evening on Broadway" and the performers carried it out on cue.

Take a bow, Chiefland Middle School sixth grader Sarah Gore, who sang two riveting gospel songs; the Bronson High band; the Williston High chorus; and the Chiefland High drama class.

This is Norris' final year as Levy Superintendent.

"I remember that Bobbie Smith, the rest of the Foundation and I were at a forum," Norris said. "My main question was, 'what can we do to help our students?'"

And the idea of the Gala was born.

"I think it will carry on," Norris said. "I don't want it to die."

Tami Wain, administrative assistant of the Foundation, said 209 tickets were sold at $50 each.

Gold Patrons paid $1,000 or more per table. There were 14 of them.

Silver Patrons paid $500-$1,000 per table. There were seven of them.

Bronze Patrons paid $250-$500. There were five of them.

Area businesses also kicked in on some very nice door prizes.

"We appreciate the continued support of the citizens of this county and business partners," Norris said.

Wain said approximately $22,000 was raised in this year's event. There are other Foundation fund-raisers upcoming including the "Evening of Excellence" in April.

The money helps go to numerous scholarships, including two $500 to each high school plus two prepaid "two plus two" college tuitions.

The Gala menu included shrimp cocktail, spring mix with raspberry vinaigrette salad, roasted pork tenderloin, crispy chicken, potato casserole, green beans, cheesecake, chocolate cake and white chocolate mousse.

Wain said the ninth annual Superintendent's Gala is targeted for

Chiefland Elementary School. "It was at the new Bronson Middle/High School last year," she said. "We move it around."

Those wishing to learn more about the Foundation can call 486-5231.