Gala’s goal: Enrich student learning

022013_jandjlogoAlthough tickets for the premier fundraiser of the Partnership Plan in the St. Croix Valley just went on sale, the organization expects another sellout for its annual Jeans and Jewels gala March 23.

“It’s really a celebratory night to rally around the strong traditions of the Stillwater School District and ensure excellence going forward,” said Paula O’Loughlin, a parent volunteer for the event.

Money raised at the event is used by The Partnership Plan for enrichment and innovative classroom programs through grants. More than 400 people from all over the school district attended Jeans and Jewels to support the Partnership Plan.

“It’s just a great chance for parents, school supporters and administration to get together and support the Partnership Plan and Stillwater Area Public Schools,” said Partnership Plan Executive Director Laura Fredericks.
The event features an early bird drawing, cocktail hour, silent auction, live auction, three-course dinner and entertainment from student groups including members of the Stillwater Area High School Jazz Ensemble and student band Crimson Horizon before and after the event. Lee Valsvik is this year’s special host.

The Partnership Plan raised more than $100,000 at last year’s gala to benefit students in the district. The group has raised $4.5 million since it’s inception in 1989.

Although funds raised are used across the district for enrichment programs, this year’s “fund-a-need” item is the SAHS Fabrication Lab. The Hubbard Foundation is matching funds raised for the lab dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. Money raised for the Fab Lab at the gala supports the second phase of the lab, which has become an integral part of the district’s STEM program.

“It’s amazing,” Fredericks said of the lab. “Every time I walk in there students are building and creating new and different ideas and things.”
Fredericks knows that every dollar raised can continue to enrich student learning throughout the district in the face of funding concerns.
“People are concerned about funding in our schools,” she said. “The money raised at the event can help provide all our students with a richer learning experience.”

The event is 6 to 11 p.m. at the Prom Center on Inwood Avenue in Oakdale. Tickets are $75 for individual attendees and $50 for district employees. For more information, order tickets or donate items, visit or call 651-439-3172.