Panther Foundation gala raises more than $113,000 for District 16 school projects

Spring Lake Park District 16’s Panther Foundation raised more than $113,000 at its ninth annual Hear the Roar Gala.

Amy Hennen, foundation board member and District 16 school board member, presents an adorable Morkie puppy (cross between a Yorkshire terrier and Maltese) to live auction high-bidder Julie (and Ryan) Comer. Proceeds from the gala will go to projects and grants to benefit students in Spring Lake Park School District 16. Photo by Jim Elert, District 16 communications coordinator

Amy Hennen, foundation board member and District 16 school board member, presents an adorable Morkie puppy (cross between a Yorkshire terrier and Maltese) to live auction high-bidder Julie (and Ryan) Comer. Proceeds from the gala will go to projects and grants to benefit students in Spring Lake Park School District 16. Photo by Jim Elert, District 16 communications coordinator

More than 226 people attended the event held Feb. 9 at Harvest Grill Event Center at the Bunker Hills Golf Club in Coon Rapids.

Proceeds go toward funding creative and innovate projects and grants to benefit students in Spring Lake Park School District 16.

Wendy Koschak and Amy Privratsky were co-chairwomen of the event.

Among activities, the gala included a social hour, dinner, silent and live auctions and, new this year, a disc jockey (District 16 teacher Dean Downs) and dancing following the silent auction.

Attendees raised $25,000 for the foundation’s Fund-A Dream project this year, which will go to the Panther Pantry located in Spring Lake Park High School. The pantry provides food packs for students in need to take home on weekends and nonschool days. The foundation awarded to the Panther Pantry an additional $6,000 for a special project.

Downs, a physical education teacher in the district, was honored with an honorary lifetime membership to the foundation for his years of service, talents and passion in helping the Panther Foundation at such events as the annual Staff Folleeez, a staff variety show, the annual walk/run and more.

Four legacy donors were honored for their $1,000 membership, including the SLP High School class of 1982, which donated $1,500 for school projects.

“This was our largest and most successful gala ever…,” said Colleen Pederson, director of community education.

Elyse Kaner is at elyse.kaner@ecm-inc.com

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