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CV organization gains momentum to support schools

Third annual event set March 10



— The need for more in their local schools brought two men together six years ago; however, the meeting relied on a relationship that was actually forged years before.

Kamiah’s Greg Drake, a now retired educator and 1965 alumnus of Clearwater Valley High School, and then-CVHS principal, Dave Harrington, had known each other for years.

“He had played football for me when he was in middle school,” Drake smiled.

Harrington had been to a conference, Drake said, and had heard about a way to raise funds he thought may be applicable to the Kooskia area. The two began working together, and, with the assistance of a seven-member volunteer board of directors, they held the first VEST (Valley Educators Support Team Fest three years ago.

“That first year we drew about 65 people and raised $3,500,” Drake said. “By the second year, we had 135 people attend and made about $9,500.”

Drake said, “the momentum is strong, and we definitely feel like we are headed in the right direction.”

VEST Fest 3 is set for Saturday, March 10, at the Kooskia Community Hall.

“We have had tremendous support from the community and outlying areas, and have relied heavily on our alumni base,” Drake added. More than 200 people are expected at this year’s event, he said.

Board member Lara Smith said she is excited about the event and “there are many great auction items.”

“People and businesses and organizations have been wonderful about donating to the silent and live auctions,” she stated.

Items include overnight stays in Coeur d’Alene and Grangeville, munition products from ATK, a Yellowstone package, steelhead trips, Blue Fox and Snowhaven passes and restaurant and food certificates.

Smith, who is the Clearwater Valley Elementary School librarian, and husband, Mike, a CVHS alumni, have four daughters in the CV school system. She said funds from past VEST events have helped pay for a variety of things for the schools.

“We’ve been able to purchase Chromebooks and Kindles, a charging cart and headphones,” she said, “as well as assisting with a girls basketball camp and a senior project to improve the high school stage.”

Smith said 100 percent of the profit from the festival goes to the schools. A big dream, she added, would be able to eventually resurface the CVHS track.

“We have a beautiful, perfect location, and I would love to see it utilized,” she said.

CVHS graduate Stephanie Duclos will cater the event (A Taste of Art Catering) and the dinner will include pulled pork. Beer and wine will also be available. In addition, CVHS’s drama and music department will perform a scene from their upcoming play, “Cinderella.” Cindy Dahler and Bob Squires will also perform that night, Smith said.

Tickets are on sale for $20 per person and are available at the schools.

Drake and Smith said a push this year will be to ask for supporters to provide ongoing monthly donations of $10 or $20.

“We want to invest this in the VEST Foundation for the CV schools,” Drake said.

VEST has a Facebook page that can be checked for updates.


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