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Centralia Public Schools Education Foundation holding ‘March Madness’ fund-raising banquet

Posted on Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 5:35 pm

The Centralia Public Schools Foundation has scheduled its annual March Madness fundraiser to help raise money to fill un-met needs at the Centralia R-VI School District.

The foundation will hold the March Madness dinner social March 18, at the Knights of Columbus Center on Hwy. 124, just outside Centralia’s south side.

This year’s March Madness social features the same scrumptious dinner as last year, prime rib, green beans, baked potatoes, Cesar Salad and cheesecake.

It will also feature a cash bar and live auction, with a silent auction being considered, said two of the organizers, Hilary Myers Filimonuk and Jeannie Auck.

The proceeds from the annual event are earmarked to benefit Centralia R-VI’s students.

Previously those benefits have included:

• Enough scientific calculators for each member of the CHS freshman class to be able to check one out daily.

• Tools and equipment to enhance the Champion Academy’s “Service over Self” program.

• Books on the Space Race and World War II to enhance history studies at CIS.

• Reading kits designed to help Centralia Intermediate Students strengthen students’ ability to read fluently.

Listen below to John Brinkmann, director of the Champion Academy, discuss how the Centralia Public Schools Foundation has helped his students.

“Through the Foundation we were able to buy universal reading manipulatives for all of the classrooms at CIS.” Mary Decker, R-VI Title 1 reading teacher and literacy coach said. “These include things like colored trackers, pointers, and magnetic letters. These tools will make reading more accessible for all students. Some students prefer the tools because they will make reading easier or add novelty to their reading routines. For other students, particularly our students with reading difficulties, these tools help reduce the barriers to reading that exist for them.”

The foundation supports student and teacher needs on an ongoing basis.

“We usually give away grants in the spring and in the fall,” Auck and Filimonuk said. “We are preparing to give away another round in April or May. Teachers can submit a grant request at any time. We talk about them, look at the budget and what they are asking for. Then we decide which ones to award.”

Last year they said the foundation awarded a little more than $12,000 worth of grants to teachers.

“It’s really a good time to socialize, for people to see people they haven’t seen in a while. .Filimonuk said. “We had a really great event last year. People has a lot of fun with things like the 50-50 raffle and the auction.”

She said the raffles and some of the other entertainment could be changed this year, some of those plans are still being finalized.

Entertainment will also include a photo booth, they said.

The meal will be catered by Prenger Foods. “They’re a great sponsor for us,”   said. “They really work with us to get as much funds raised as we can.”

Auck agreed. “The community and local businesses have been really supportive.”

The foundation’s board members are: Auck, president; Chad Stidham, vice-president; Filimonuk, secretary; Scott McVey, treasurer; and Shannon Dawson is the Centralia R-VI School Board representative.

Tickets and tables are going fast, they said. Of the 25 tables, at least 13 are purchased. “People better hurry if they are interested,” Auck said, “Tickets and tables are going fast. Everybody had a great time last year and we are looking forward to a great time this year.”

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Centralia School Board Office at 123 N. Rollins St.