Date Auction is “A Magical Ride”

jenniferharrop

Photos by John Montagno

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For several years, Date Auctions have been common on popular television shows, such as “One Tree Hill” and “90210.” “One Tree Hill” used the auction—called the Boy-Toy Auction on the show—to raise money for the school; “90210” used the Date Auction to raise money for a charity.  Both dramatized Date Auctions used real money to bid on potential dates.  This Valentine’s Day, Walpole High School’s Student Council held their own version of the Date Auction, using counterfeit money (StuCo Bucks) to bid on senior boys and girls for a chance to go on a date in the school cafeteria that evening.

Starting the week before the auction, Student Council held a spirit week as an opportunity for students to win StuCo Bucks.  The only way for a student to win StuCo Bucks was to dress up on one of the multiple dress-up days set by the Student Council.  Winter Wonderland Spirit Week began on February ninth with Hats, Scarves and Mittens Day.  Rumble in the Jungle Day (dress up like your favorite jungle animal), Flannel Friday, Valentine’s Colors, Luau Day, T-Shirt Time (wear your favorite T-Shirt),  and Rebel Pride Day followed, giving Student’s the chance to gain StuCo Bucks for the date auction on February 14.  Although Spirit Week did not technically end until February 17, StuCo Bucks were only given out during the first four dress-up days, for the auction was being held in the middle of Spirit Week.  Originally, the auction was supposed to be held at the end of the Spirit Week, but due to the large amount of snow days, the Spirit Week scheduled had to be changed. The Student Council Spirit Week was not only to get students excited about the Date Auction, but to raise school spirit during the winter months—arguably the most stressful and depressing months of the school year.  Kelly Mcgovern, a junior at Walpole High, said, “Spirit Week definitely helped the week before vacation go by faster. It’s easier to look forward to school when something exciting is going on—even if it’s just dressing up as a Koala or something silly like that.”

Valentine’s Day brought the very first Date Auction, hosted by Ms. Kerry Mcmenimen and Mr. Richard Kim, to Walpole High.  On February 14, students gathered in the auditorium to bid on their peers, buy a date, and possibly even make a new friend, or find a potential prom date.   The night started with Dave Conroy, Senior Captain of the Rebels hockey team, being auctioned off.  As many had predicted, girls were fighting to bid for a date with Conroy. Junior Luke Witherell, a known Walpole High stud, outbid every girl, and bought a Valentine’s date from Conroy.  Witherell’s bid on Conroy ($41,000) surprised every student and faculty member in the audience.  Seniors Meredith Barry, Dave Frizzell, Della Donahue, and Conor Donovan also went for high bids.  As each senior got paired off, the audience got updates from Ms. Emily Loflin, who was on-location in the cafeteria—otherwise known as the “Love Shack.” Before bidding began on the rest of the students, Ms. Loflin showed the audience the progression of Conroy and Witherell’s date, as well as Barry’s date with senior Steve King.  After an awkward, and slightly embarassing interview with the dates, Ms. Mac and Mr. Kim started the second round of bidding.

Senior Tim Gallivan was put up for auction next, and sophomore Erin McWeeney outbid a number of other girls (and boys) for a date with him.   Junior Christina Freiberger pooled all of her StuCo bucks when senior Jeff Meaney went up for auction. It took nearly ten minutes, and $27,000, for Freiberger to outbid her competitors, and win a date with Meaney—Walpole High School’s resident cowboy.  After several other seniors were auctioned off as dates, junior Andrew Berardinelli bid on senior Liz Jelloe. Berardinelli bid on Jelloe “for fun.” He said, “Why not try and make a fool of yourself trying to win a date? I could not think of a better way to spend my Valentine’s Day.”  Tom Ryan, also a senior, went up for auction after being interviewed by Ms. Mac. When asked what his idea of the perfect date was, Ryan said “[his] answer was not school appropriate,” which left the audience in an uproar, and eager to bid on him.  Senior Mike Cofsky kept the laughter going in the auditorium when he made his entrance wearing nothing but a vest, harem pants, and sunglasses, and showing off some crazy dance moves.  Cofsky ended up with sophomore Becky Chariton, who struggled to outbid a mysterious voice over the loudspeaker for a good five minutes.  After much back and forth, Chariton finally succeeded over the voice—discovered to be senior Matt Mullen later that night.

The rest of the auction brought the highest bidders of the night—the highest being $100,300, the last bid of the night, for senior Cameron Klavsen. Seniors Philian Ogbaegbe and Grace Lynch entertained the audience before bids began. Ogbaegbe danced to Cali Swag District’s “Teach Me How to Dougie,” while Lynch sang along to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.”  Before going up for auction, senior Meg Anchukaitis said, “I’m nervous for putting myself out there, and the date might be awkward, but it’s also kind of exciting, having the potential to meet someone new.”  Anchukaitis’ nerves were put to rest quickly after bidding began, for Maria Asarides bid on a date with her.  Rob Prindall and Taylor Gilmore, seniors, both were auctioned off as dates for the evening.  Senior Emily Quinlan bid on Prindall, and won easily.  Junior James “Bill” Cullinane bid on Gilmore after she proclaimed that her dream date would be none other than, “Bill Cullinane.”  Senior Mike Nadeau, co-captain of the Rebels  hockey team was auctioned off next, and was the second highest bid of the night.  For nearly ten minutes, audience members, including younger sister, junior Lizzy Nadeau, fought to outbid each other.  Eventually, senior Andrew Gambon won the auction, with a $100,000 bid. Mr Kim said, “That was the most intense bid of the night, but it shows, magic can happen in this school.” The last two seniors on auction that night were Amanda Sem and Cam Klavsen.  During Sem’s bidding, she made it clear that it was “hard to go after someone went for $100,000.”  Although the bid was not as high as Gambon’s, senior Tori Hebner won the date with Sem.  Klavsen got auctioned off for $300 more than Nadaeu did, but he was not fought over for long.

Once the auction was over, Ms. Mac and Mr. Kim checked in with Ms. Loflin in the “Love Shack” for one last time.  Ms. Loflin showed off the success of the dates, and interviewed a few more couples (Barry and King were, apparently, engaged by the end of the night).  The auction was proven a successful fundraiser for the Student Council, and it was a better way to spend Valentine’s Day than feeling alone and sorry for yourself. Students who may not have been able to secure a date on Valentine’s Day (and even some students who had dates!) were able to get a laugh and have fun with it.  As Mr. Kim said, there is only one phrase to summarize the events of the 2011 Date Auction: “A magical ride.”