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Perham Gala a showcase of local talent

A showcase of Perham High School talent will be a highlight of the annual 549 Family banquet, March 27.

Billed every year as the "Honey Bee Gala: An Investment in Youth," the banquet is an annual celebration of Perham School District 549, along with the faculty, staff, students and school boosters.

Past events have featured guest speakers; but this year, the spotlight is on Perham students and their talents.

"We decided to have fun with it this year," said 549 Family director Jo Strege. "We thought we would lighten it up with a little less talking and a little more fun."

Singers, pianists and a string ensemble will some of the performers who will entertain for the evening.

Strege notes that 100 percent of the proceeds from the gala will go to benefit the students of the Perham school district.

In the span of a year, 549 Family-thanks to its members and donors-contributed more than $120,000 to school programs and projects, according to Strege.

Foundation funds have gone to early childhood programs, auditorium improvements, activity fee subsidies for students, new musical instruments, new computers and a range of other programs.

"The foundation has become more and more important to the community and the school," said Strege, noting that 549 Family helps buffer against the budget cuts the school has faced over the past four years.

The gala will serve as a prelude to an area-wide appeal campaign that is set for this spring, said Strege. Also previewed at the gala will be a new endowment fund that is being established.

The foundation has been going through a series of transitions, noted Strege. The Honey Bee Gala will be the final official duty for Strege, who has been volunteer coordinator for about seven years. "The board and the members are taking on a lot of the coordinator duties. We have a great bunch of people taking reins, and they will take it forward," she said.

Rather than a sole coordinator, the duties are being split up, and various board members and volunteers are stepping forward to take on different tasks," said Strege.

Strege will continue as president this year, and serve her final year on the foundation board in 2011.

Investment Awards will be presented during the program. Among the community honorees is Ken Nelson, KLN Enterprises.

Nominees for the three Teachers Investment Awards include: Mike Jordahl, Darrel Pederson, Heidi Solberg, Dave Cresap, Daidre Klinnert, Wayne Werner, Robb Moser, Jon Skow, and Karen Zepper.

Several surprise awards are also planned.

Student Investment Awards will be presented to a deserving student in each of grades 7-12.

The gala will be held at Mulligan's-Perham Lakeside Golf course on March 27.

The social, entertainment, a silent auction and bucket raffles all start at 5:30 p.m.

Dinner and entertainment starts at 6:30, with the program starting about 7 p.m.

549 Family Student Ambassador will be PHS senior Chelsea Baumgart.

Emcee is PHS senior Becca Huebsch, Student Council president

Entertainment includes:

• Jordan Berns, piano

• PHS string quintet, with James Hersch, Amber Kalina, Abby Kalina, Elizabeth Maxwell and Jordan Berns

• Acoustic guitar group

• Vocalist Sam Stoll

• Vocalist Paige Meyer

• Miss Perham Jennifer Strege, performing on piano.

Some of the auction items include: Guys Poker Night at Zorbaz; Girls Afternoon on Paul Lake; Marion Lake Progressive Pontoon Party; One Fine Day Fishing Trip, lunch at Zorbaz; and Butler Woods Party.

Other auction items include Twins tickets, packaged pork, jewelry pieces from T.A. Gould, We Fest tickets, and Golden Eagle resort cabin.