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      'Oktoberfest' unites parish and school at St. Anthony

      I t's a fall event that brings the parish community of St. Anthony Padua and the school together to raise money for school essentials.

      I t's St. Anthony's largest fundraiser of the year, but before it turned into what we now call 'Oktoberfest', both the parish and school committees saw a need in their school for financial assistance.

      Principal, Melissa Meneses, said "The school was in need of additional funding for core curriculum which can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 a year and the school really just doesn't have those funds because we are so small and we're rural."

      O ktoberfest is going 30 years strong and with the event growing in popularity, and activities being added each year, the school's own students are now helping.

      " O ur children at the school are actually required to sell the tickets for the fundraiser. " Meneses said. "S o they've actually sold about 3,000 tickets today, so we may see up to 3,000 people come through."

      A fairly new addition to the annual event is a silent and live auction. The school receives items from community members and local businesses, and the funds go directly to the school.

      Organizers say the event is much bigger than a hot meal and an auction; t he school is focused on getting its students involved and excited.

      " I t gives them a sense of entitlement of ownership and to where they really feel apart of it. " Pastor Michael Colwell said. "I t's just a big family event in many ways to teach them responsibility , not to just receive but to give , and to work for what they receive."

      T here's even a small incentive for each class at St. Anthony. Sixth-grader Natalie McDaniel said each class had to make a gift basket for the auction.

      " T he class that sells the most tickets too , well the top three classes will get a movie day," she said

      M oney raised from the event will go toward buying books, technology and gym equipment for students.