The primary fundraiser for the Van Alstyne Education Foundation, the Denim and Diamonds Gala, was held last Thursday, March 23, at Heritage Springs Event Center. The event played host to 250 guests who enjoyed a night of fine dining and entertainment for the benefit of the students and teachers of Van Alstyne Independent School District

“This event is important because it is our largest fundraiser,” Executive Director for the Education Foundation Dacia McBryde said. “The Education Foundation is able to do great things because of our wonderful sponsors. This event is a fun way for us to thank our sponsors and raise money that will be awarded later this year.”

The VAEF has been able to award $200,000 in teacher grants and senior scholarships since 2012 due in large part to this annual event. Last year’s event was successful in raising $70,000, which set this year’s goal at $80,000.

Donors and members of the community were able to take part in the event by sponsoring a table, purchasing a ticket, or participating in the silent or live auctions. The event was a lively affair with attendees dividing their attention between the live DJ, auctions, Plinko game, raffle and dinner. The dinner was catered by Texas Land and Cattle while the dessert was prepared by the Van Alstyne High School culinary arts students.

“Obviously we would want to be a part of this event,” Danielle Wells, event attendee with sponsor Landmark Bank, said. “Education is very important. The kids and teachers of Van Alstyne need our support. I think the grants and scholarships that the Education Foundation provides are fantastic and it should definitely continue.”

Many donors played an even bigger role in the event by donating items for the silent and live auctions. Live auction items included a private dinner for 10 prepared by Chef Antonio Iocchi, vacation home rentals, a reserved parking space at Van Alstyne Elementary and other unique opportunities. The silent auction was packed with even more unique items up for grabs from baskets of goodies to original works of art.

With numerous ways to give back, Nate Pike with the Utter Wealth Management Group explained what it means to their organization to be a part of the event.

“We sponsored the event,” Pike said. “We have always supported the Van Alstyne Education Foundation. It’s such a great cause and such a great community.”

All of the money raised will go towards the continued enhancement of the educational experience for all students at Van Alstyne ISD.