Town Crier News Staff
Manila Future Farmers of America (FFA) Alumni Association is preparing for the 10th annual FFA Alumni dinner/auction set for Friday, Feb. 23. The event will be held at the Manila Airport Center. A catfish dinner, catered by Ed's Country Catfish House, will be served at 5:30 p.m. The menu will consist of fish, shrimp, and chicken strips with all the trimmings. No advance dinner tickets will be sold and there are no takeouts. Dinner tickets will be $7.50 at the door.
The auction will begin at 7 p.m. Again, members are gathering a large variety of items to be auctioned.
"We appreciate all of the donations from area businesses and individuals," Alumni President Ernie Malloy said.
Items will include framed prints, guns, quilts, miniature tractors, chemicals, gift certificates, and much more.
The grand prize will be a trip to Branson donated by Bass Pro Shop and Big Cedar Lodge. The three day/two night get away is an all inclusive paid trip. Members of the alumni group will be taking $1 donations for the trip that will be given away the night of the auction.
Several guns including a 270 deer rifle, muzzle loader, Bennelli Nova, 512 gauge shotgun with rifle barrel, and a 20 gauge youth model will be raffled or auctioned during the evening.
There will be items auctioned for women only and several items, including his/her bicycles, for a youth only auction.
The auction, which will be kicked off by longtime area auctioneer Paul Robbins, will start with a $20 donation for a Pick It Ticket. The winner of the pick it ticket drawing can choose any item before the bidding starts.
Manila FFA students are building heavy-duty barbecue pits and deer stands to be auctioned.
Vice President Scott Townsend said there will be a new event this year, a money booth.
"An enclosed glass case with $1,000 in bills will be placed on center stage and a drawing will be held to select a young person who will have the opportunity to get into the case for a select time limit while the money is being blown all around," Townsend said. "The lucky winner will be able to keep all of the money he/she can grab."
There will also be door prizes and give-a-ways throughout the evening.
In addition to auctioneer Robbins, other auctioneers volunteering include Sammy Williams, Robert Morris and Scott Gifford.
All proceeds from the auction go towards scholarships. The annual auction is the only fundraiser the association holds and it has been very successful through the years.
"It has been successful due to the support from the community and the surrounding area," Malloy said.
Over the years they have presented thousands of dollars in scholarships assisting about 30 young people in college or vocational technical schools. The group has assisted six college graduates each year throughout their college years.
This year the Alumni organization will be involving Buffalo Island Central and Riverside High Schools by offering $1,000 scholarships to seniors from BIC and Riverside.
"We get a lot of support from our surrounding towns and we decided we wanted to give back to their communities by including their young men and women by offering scholarships to help further their education," Malloy said.
Malloy said this year's Riverside Scholarship will be given in memory of Donnie Kelton of Caraway. Kelton attended school in Manila.
The Buffalo Island Central Memorial Scholarship will be in memory of Zach Whited.
A third memorial scholarship will be given to a Manila student in memory of Carol Benson.
"We have had a great response through the years for the auction and we are looking forward to a record crowd in 2007," Malloy said.
Malloy and the other officers encourage anyone from the area interested in joining the FFA Alumni Association to feel welcome.
"You do not have to be a former Manila student to be a part," Townsend said. "You just need to have a desire to help our area young people. There are no dues. We start working and meeting a month or two before the annual auction. We also help where we can in Manila's FFA program. We help the young people when we can by accompanying them to the Mid-South Fair or with the Gong Show activities.
George Flagg serves as secretary and treasurer for the FFA organization.