by BRANDI ORTIZ // News Editor

South Plains College plans to raise funds for student scholarships during the 19th Annual Scholarship Gala.

The event is set for Feb. 25 in the Physical Education Complex on the Levelland campus.

The Board of Regents of South Plains College and the directors of the South Plains College Foundation come together to bring in sponsors and donors to help fund scholarships for students.

According to Julie Gerstenberger, the director of development and alumni relations at SPC, more than 800 students are receiving scholarships from the SPC Foundation for the 2016-2107 academic year. The gala typically raises $100,000, but Gerstenberger hopes to raise twice that much before she leaves the Foundation.

“Proceeds are generated, in large part, through table and ticket sales,” says Gerstenberger.

There are different variations of sponsorships. There is the Underwriting Partner sponsorship which is $5,000; the Diamond level partnership is $2,000; a Platinum level sponsor is $1,000; the Gold level is $800; and individual benefactor tickets are $100 per person.

The Gala also features a live auction, silent auction, and a raffle of donated items in hopes of raising funds. The theme for this year’s event is “Unlocking Opportunities.”

The Foundation has asked some SPC students from the sound technology and video technology programs to use what they have learned in class by helping out with video, audio and visual effects for the night.

“If we really didn’t have [student volunteers], we wouldn’t have any success,” expressed Gerstenberger. “Students are really key, not only as the beneficiaries, but as the people who help make it work.”

The evening also will include a gourmet dinner, provided by Great Western Dining, and live entertainment provided by Dustin Garrett and his wife Kristi Thetford, who are both SPC alums.

The couple both toured with the Tommy Gallagher Band and the Taylor Hickey Band for four years after graduation.

Garrett was also in the top five in the national Kings of Blues Contest in Hollywood, Calif. Thetford was an original member of the Ranch Dance Fiddle Band.

During the Gala, the three 2017 Pacesetter Award recipients will be announced and honored.

“The event was created to bring in scholarship money,” Gerstenberger said. “We want to be sure that we are not just asking, we need to remember to thank and recognize.”

The Pacesetter is an award presented to a person or organization that has not only helped financially but also  has devoted time and energy to help raise funds.

This year, the Pacesetter Award recipients are: The Estate of Themla Hudson Murphy; the Hockley County Junior Livestock Show Association Board; and the SPC Lubbock Center Lead Partners (The Helen Jones Foundation, The CH Foundation, and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance).

Posted by Plainsman Press Staff

The student newspaper of South Plains College.

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