Junior high cake auction nets dollars for area foster homes
A Jayhawk cake was a hot commodity Friday at Tonganoxie Junior High School.
The cake, the last one offered during an auction at the TJHS cafeteria, brought a whopping $170 from a group of students involved in a bidding war with another group of TJHS eighth-graders.
Energy filled the room as each group pooled money and counted furiously to determine whether it had enough funds to continue to outbid the other group.
Debbie Holloway's eighth-grade literature class sponsored the event, with proceeds going to Leavenworth County's Kaw Valley Center, which gives assistance to foster homes.
Overall, the students raised about $450 through the cake auction and donations. One student even offered a Subway sandwich to be bid on, which junior high teach John Korb bought. Korb gave the sandwich back to the student.
Before the auction got under way, Holloway was hoping the students would raise $200.
She said once the students understood the auction and got into the spirit of it, the event gained momentum.
"With the eighth-graders, it was pure competition," Holloway said. "And I think they had the idea of where it was going to go."
Students, family and even faculty baked cakes for the event. Along with the Jayhawk cake, the auction's bounty included unique cakes with various themes.
Someone brought a wedding cake, while a student made a Napoleon Dynamite-themed cake. One cake was baked to resemble two hot dogs and fries, while another resembled flip-flops.
A layer cake resembled the hat from Dr. Seuss' "The Cat in the Hat."
The eighth-graders raised roughly $285, while the ninth-graders made almost $85, and the seventh grade nearly $80.
The money will be used by foster families to purchase additional items for their foster children that they otherwise couldn't afford.
Holloway tied in the cake auction with a novel her students recently finished reading, "Whale Talk."
The book features a boy who is a foster child and decides to build a swim team of underdogs who aren't top athletes.
One girl on the team was mentally challenged, while another girl had been physically abused by her stepfather. The boy's mother later takes the girl into their home.
Debbie Hatfield, who works with foster care families out of Topeka, visited Holloway's class. She told students how foster families work and explained how money from the cake auction could help them.
Hatfield also led the students through a creative exercise. Students were instructed to close their eyes and imagine they were foster children who would be going to a new home soon. They were to imagine they had a paper sack in front of them and had to decide what possessions they would take with them in the sack.
Jamie Hicks, who is one of Holloway's students, said Hatfield's presentation helped her understand the book.
"The book was really confusing at first, but it all made sense at the end," Hicks said.
Of course, Holloway's students said the auction provided some fun as well.
"It was really exciting watching everybody bid and it was exciting that it went to a good cause," Hicks said.