Nashoba Boosters Tries it Luck…February 4, 2015
by Ann Needle
On Saturday, March 21, for the first time in recent memory, the three towns of Nashoba Regional High School will come together for a major fundraising event for the school. Along with bringing in some big dollars for the high school’s athletic program, organizers hope Nashoba Boosters Athletic Club’s Casino Night, at The International in Bolton, generates some tri-town spirit among Stow, Bolton, and Lancaster.
“The reason this is so exciting is this is the first time we’re really having a [recent] tri-town event,” according to Helene Demmer, Fundraising co-chair for the tax-exempt Boosters. “We want to generate excitement about the Nashoba athletic program, and give people the chance to socialize with the other towns.”
Though the event is weeks away, Boosters Fundraising Co-Chair Jennifer Cunningham of Stow stressed that the $75-per-person ticket price will rise to $100 after February 13. The ticket price includes admission, starter casino chips, gambling, music, dancing, appetizers and desserts – hearty enough to pass as dinner, Cunningham said.
The gambling tables will host Black Jack, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Roulette. Though, as a charitable event, the Casino night cannot award cash, there will be prizes for those holding the most chips at the end of the night.
The event will have plenty of NRHS support. Bolton’s Demmer reported that parents of the school’s athletes were recruited and trained to run the tables, and the evening will be emceed by NRHS Psychology Teacher Robert Griffin – aka Mr. Griff. There will also be a raffle to support the “wish list” board of items the Athletics staff wants, along with some live auction items, Demmer said.
While a DJ will spin the dance tunes, Cunningham noted that Stow NRHS sophomore, athlete, and musician Nick Jones will provide background piano music for about 90 minutes throughout the evening.
Cunningham said she discovered Privateer Rum distillery in Ipswich and its owner and founder, Andrew Cabot, who will donate his touch to the night. Touting a product that is organic and purer than other rums on the market, Privateer representatives met with The International bar manager who, as Cunningham put it, “was just blown away.” The International will offer two special cocktails it concocted with Privateer rum for Casino Night, and a party at the distillery will be one of the items offered at the silent auction, she said.
Cunningham recalled coming up with the idea for Casino Night after hosting a similar event at Clock Tower Place in Maynard a few years ago. With Casino Night, she told a few people that she would like to raise $10,000, “and they laughed. But that makes it fun, it’s a challenge.”
The laughter should die down when word gets out that the Boosters already has $8,500 in corporate and family sponsorships for the night, Cunningham reported. “All indicators are really giving us hope in terms of sponsorship — “we’ve already more than covered our costs.”
The Mighty Boosters
Casino Night also highlights the growing profile of the Boosters as a powerhouse fundraising organization. The Boosters has been raising money for NRHS sports for many years, perhaps most well known for its concession stand sales at games. Demmer explained that it made an important move a few years ago, designed to attract more donors, by becoming a 501(c)3 charitable organization. “We are really making it a charitable organization for people to focus their giving.”
With the school’s new athletic field and concession stand came the opportunity for the modern-day Boosters’ first big fundraiser. The “buy a brick” for the area around the concession stand brought in about $12,000, Demmer estimated. As for a few recent Booster projects — all being items not funded fully by NRHS — she pointed to the concession stand, an almost-finished concession for the gym, and the upper field scoreboard and some speakers for that area.
Boosters itself “is not about the money. It’s about these teachers, these coaches, giving of themselves. They have to work really hard for the benefit of our kids,” Cunningham remarked. “The results they produce, with so little in the way of equipment compared with the towns we compete with, is outstanding.”
Casino Night runs from 7:30pm to 11pm on March 21. For details on purchasing tickets, visit www.nashobaboosters.com.