The Mark Morris Foundation will hold its fifth annual Lion’s Pride Auction at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Lower Columbia College Student Center. It will include a silent and live auction to benefit the foundation.

Susie Kirkpatrick, Mark Morris Foundation vice president, said the auction, which raised $40,000 last year, is a “game changer.” She said the funds allow the foundation to better support projects around the school, award scholarships and create an endowment fund.

The Foundation started around the 50th anniversary of the high school’s opening, according to Kirkpatrick.

The foundation supports mid-sized projects that are more than a booster club can afford but smaller than a major taxpayer-supported project, according to Mark Morris principal Brooks Cooper. For example, he said the foundation wouldn’t re-carpet a classroom.

However, the foundation has purchased a new electronic reader board, donated TV monitors and installed red and blue benches throughout the school, Kirkpatrick said.

“It’s very rewarding to know that you’re creating something for your alma mater,” Kirkpatrick said. “We feel that Longview is a great place to live. We’d like to see that continue, and that’s our little piece.”

Kirkpatrick said at first, the group sold hot dogs and t-shirts, “scrambling” to come up with enough for one $500 scholarship.

But last year, the foundation gave out 10 scholarships of $1,200 each and administered 17 scholarships, for a total of $28,000 in aid for students, Kirkpatrick said.

Scholarships tell students “someone in their hometown was proud of them and wants to invest in them,” Kirkpatrick said. “It says there are people back home that believe in them.”

Cooper said having a committed group of proud alumni who are passionate about helping is a huge advantage.

“I can’t stress enough how much I appreciate the work that they do. They might not see it day-to-day, but our staff all across the board … gets to see the work they do and the contributions they make,” Cooper said.

Kirkpatrick said anyone interested in attending the auction should contact Karen Kickabush at 360-575-7663 or kkickabush@longview.k12.wa.us.

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