What do you do when you want to award scholarships to seven students but nine qualified and deserving local children apply? According to the Education Committee of the Marco Island Chamber of Commerce who awards such scholarships, you find a way to make up the difference. Chamber fundraisers, put on by graduates of Leadership Marco, have been the main source of scholarship funding.
A new event idea surfaced one morning at a meeting over coffee; an idea that inspired the chairman of the Education Committee, Desiree Buhelos. “The more we discussed it, the more the pieces fell into place for an event new to Marco, which could close the scholarship gap! First, we discussed a “soup” event where patrons would come in to sample soup from various restaurants.
Chef Laura and Jacquie Koon from CJ’s on the Bay, along with Lisa Meurgue from Bistro Soliel led the way in getting restaurants involved and setting up protocol for participating restaurants. The committee also met with Barney Halashack of the Clay Guild. He advised them and set up guidelines for the teachers. The Chamber ordered more than 800 bisque bowls and gallons of glazes. The bowls and the glazes were divided and delivered to participating schools and the Teen Center at Mackle Park. Students decorated the bowls with glaze which were packed up and received by the Center for the Arts for firing. Barney and a crew of volunteers from the Clay Guild handled firing the bowls and packed them back up to be send to the Chamber. According to Barney, “We are just amazed to see the level of creativity the students have put into these bowls. It has been a fun experience for us to be involved.”
In addition to the 800 student painted bowls, artists have contributed bowls which will be auctioned off during the event, including Wet Paint Live artists. The Clay Guild also donated four bowls. The response from the community has been overwhelming. All-in-all 30 sponsors have come forward to help make this event successful, including major sponsors: Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa, the City of Marco Island, the Kiwanis Foundation, Bedtime Bundles, Valleycrest Landscape Maintenance, CJ’s on the Bay, Greenscapes of Southwest Florida and the Print Shop.
Entertainment will be provided by DJ Steve Reynolds and Re-enactors from the Marco Island Historical Society will provide realistic glimpses into Marco Island’s past.
Tables will be set up with bowls from Tommie Barfield Elementary School, Lely High School, the Marco Island Charter Middle School and the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Teen Center. Many parents have contacted the Chamber wanting to know how they can be certain they will be able to purchase their child’s bowl before it can be bought by someone else. For those wishing to secure their child’s bowl, you will have an opportunity to do so Friday evening, February 1. The cost will be $15, which will include one bowl and admission on Saturday for soup.
For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 239-394-7549.