The 6th annual Bill Rose Memorial Sporting Clays Classic was one for the record books.
New highs were set in several areas, including the amount of money generated for the fundraiser’s beneficiary, Marco Island Academy, said Jane Watt, MIA’s founder and chairman of its board of directors. The Saturday morning competition, also known as “Clays for Rays in Memory of Bill Rose,” was held recently at Gulf Coast Clays, in Port of the Islands.
“This was the first sellout,” said Watt. “Unfortunately, we had to turn people away. We have more sponsors and more participants than we’ve ever had. We’re pretty excited by that. The event has really grown.”
Roughly 90 people, divided into 20 teams comprised of four or five shooters, competed to see which squad was more proficient at hitting flying clay pigeon targets at multiple stations arrayed over a laid-out course. There were about 60 shooters last year.
As with previous years, the event included a luncheon, music, and silent and a live auction. The 2019 Shootout generated more than $70,000. No total was available at press time for the 2020 incarnation. “But we anticipate, just from our sponsorships, that this will be our best year ever,” said Watt.
The funds go toward MIA’s Student Success Fund, which is used to erase the funding deficit between what the school spends to educate its students and what is provided to the charter school by the School District of Collier County.
Following the competition, there was also a call for attendees to “Fund-A-Need,” in this case, to bid on specific items included on a list entitled “Student Survival Kit” that was drawn up by MIA Principal Melissa Scott. The list was broken down into our categories: Health, Mind, Body and Soul, each having multiple components.
For example, Scott told the crowd that just the Cleaning and Sanitizing Supplies component found under Health, costs the school about $3,300 a month, while Everyday Essentials, which includes things such as Kleenex and hand sanitizer cost about $1,800 a month and medical necessities cost another approximately $500.
“Even is a school our size, we are buying things for kids that they can’t afford at home,” said Scott.
Under the Soul category, she said MIA is one of the only Collier County schools to have a licensed mental health counselor, which will cost $20,000 this school year. Because the school district doesn’t allow charter schools to join the school district’s Free and Reduced Lunch program, MIA must raise roughly $10,000 a year to cover that expense.
As always, the event also served as a memorial to its namesake, the late Bill Rose. Rose was a Marco resident, successful businessman—he founded Rose Marina—avid boater and flier, former U.S. Marine and philanthropist. He made significant financial contributions to the Marco Library and the Marco Historical Museum, where the auditorium bears his name. Rose passed away in 2010 at the age of 83.
The Shootout was attended by his widow, Myrt, along with their daughter and son-in-law, Sue and Jim Vandenburgh. Each stepped to the microphone to offer a few words about Rose.
The luncheon also included an appeal for funds from Mark Melvin, a member of MIA’s Leadership Advisory Board, who recently pledged to match up to $1 million in donations raised through March 31 for the creation of a permanent campus for the school. He said about $9 million has been raised, thus far, of the $13.8 million goal.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but with your help, every single dollar counts and now we’re going to double it,” said Melvin.
For more information about the drive to construct a permanent campus for MIA or to donate, visit missionmia.org/.