Stepping Stones Montessori’s Auction for the Love of Learning is one of the school’s most important fundraisers. The Auction’s proceeds go directly towards operating costs—such as teacher salaries, classroom materials, and staff training. But just as importantly, it’s a lot of fun! If you’re new to the school (or haven’t attended an SSMS Auction), here are some things you need to know.
The Auction for the Love of Learning is scheduled for November 4, 2017, from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at the school.
Why Do We Have an Auction?
Believe it or not, tuition alone does not cover the cost of a Stepping Stones Montessori education. We raise additional funds for our budget through the Auction. We also have an annual fund campaign in the spring, and alumni families continue to remember us in their annual giving. But our school's budget depends on the money raised at the Auction. Rather than promote several wrapping paper sales, magazine drives, or fundraising races, we prefer to get together as a community at a single fundraiser.
Are Kids Invited?
The Auction is an adults-only event. Stepping Stones Montessori loves children. Our kids are fantastic. But every parent needs a night out. The Auction is a great excuse to get away, meet some equally cool parents, and support your children’s education.
When Should I Get There?
The Auction begins at 6:00 PM. While you do not have to show up at 6:00 sharp, it’s in your best interest to get there earlier rather than later. The evening begins with the silent auction—and tables will begin closing by 7:15 PM. Additionally, some of the sign-up events fill up quickly. If you show up really late, you’ll miss the opportunity to bid or sign up for these items.
The live auction will begin at approximately 8:00 PM. However, you do not have to stay for the entire event. Feel free to show up (and leave) whenever you want.
What is the Dress Code?
Do you think we're going to tell you what to wear? This is not a black tie event and you’ll see guests in everything from suits to jeans. We welcome everyone (even auction emcees dressed as hot dogs).
Where is the Auction Located?
The 2017 Auction for the Love of Learning is at Blandford Nature Center.
Do I Get an Assigned Seat?
We don’t have assigned seats in our classrooms-- why would we have them at the Auction? Feel free to mingle with other parents, staff members, and alumni.
Can I Get an Uber?
Absolutely. If you have a little too much fun, we encourage you to call a taxi or request an Uber. If necessary, we’ll bring your auction items to the school for pickup on Monday.
Can I Buy a Ticket at the Door?
Yes. If you decide at the last minute to attend, you may pay for tickets at the door. However, our Auction Committee prefers that you pre-order tickets so it can order enough food and drink.
Is Dinner Included?
There will be heavy hors d’oeuvres, but dinner is not offered.
You Mentioned Getting an Uber. Is There a Bar?
Absolutely. There will be a cash bar with beer and wine. Drinks are obtained by buying drink tickets. You can use a credit card to purchase drink tickets, but cash is preferred.
What’s Up for Bid?
Every year, there are amazing items at the Auction. Our staff, parents, and alumni donate really cool stuff and experiences. For many, the holiday season is fast approaching. There has to be someone on your list who would love homemade jam, a vacation in Leland, Michigan or monthly flower deliveries.
You will also have the opportunity to bid on classroom art projects. These aren’t your standard macaroni-and-glitter pieces. They’re thoughtful (and sentimental) works that your kids helped make. In the past, classroom projects have included painted canvases, elaborate string art, and a student-built "free library."
Additionally, the Auction always has a series of sign-up events and items. At the Auction, you will see a series of sign-up boards with various activities and items listed. They typically include dinners, classroom photo books, and the always popular "Night with Friends"-- a December evening where your SSMS-enrolled elementary students get to hang out at school and have a pizza party. (Meanwhile, you can enjoy a dinner date, shop, or enjoy some peace and quiet.)
Finally, this year's Auction will include a wine pull. At check-in, you can buy a bottle of wine (or two) for $20 each. All wine pull bottles are all worth at least $15 and a few will be particularly special. You will receive your randomly chosen bottles at checkout.
Check out the Auction Catalog for more information about this year's offerings.
Are the Sign-Up Events Just for "Veteran" Parents?
Every year, the school offers a series of sign-up events. For these events, you simply sign up and pay the stated price. Most of the events have limits on how many people can be included, so it's worth arriving early. There’s an Amazing Race–style road rally. You can enjoy a "Beer with Matt." It can be intimidating to sign up for a night out with strangers, but don't be shy! Our community is really friendly and fun.
Can I Just Browse the Auction?
We don’t expect everyone to spend a lot of money at the Auction. Our catalog includes a wide range of price points: items range in cost from $15 to thousands of dollars. While this is a charity event, it is also a night of community building. Feel free to show up, have a drink, and browse.
I Can't Attend. Can I Still Participate in the Auction?
While we do not offer online bidding, consider donating. You and your loved ones can also buy 50/50 tickets! The tickets are a great way for your out-of-town friends and family to support Stepping Stones. Last year’s 50/50 winner received over $4,000—and you do not need to attend the Auction to participate in the raffle. If you're interested in buying 50/50 tickets, contact us.
How Do I Get Tickets?
Tickets to the Auction can be purchased at Stepping Stones or online. We're looking forward to seeing you there!