By JOEL MARTIN/Columbia Basin Herald
MOSES LAKE — It was an especially celebratory evening Saturday at Big Bend Community College, as Cellarbration! For Education returned in person after two years as a virtual event.
This is the 21st year for the annual fundraiser banquet and auction, which raises money for scholarships given by the Big Bend Community College Foundation to BBCC students. A total of about $168,000 was raised through the event, according to BBCC spokesperson Tiffany Fondren.
“My husband and I have been to all 21,” said BBCC Foundation board member Vickey Melcher. “Both of our children attended BBCC. I have been a board member for many years and have enjoyed it very much. It is important to me that all students receive an appropriate education based on their needs and goals.”
Fellow board member Juanita Richards agreed.
“It’s amazing to be out here and be able to raise money for students at the college,” she said.
The evening began with a silent auction, offering 93 lots including home and garden services, hobby kits for bakers, grillers, artists and young hunters, various food and drink baskets and a wooden rocking horse made from wine stays by local rodeo legend Wade Leslie. Along with the auction were appetizers and the wines for which the event is named, poured by volunteers. The wines included selections from four local wineries, plus a sparkling white from Logroño in northern Spain.
Dinner was provided by Michael’s on the Lake and featured prime rib and cedar salmon topped with ceviche, accompanied by roasted potatoes and veggies. Dessert was a tall slab of cheesecake topped with strawberries.
The foundation’s executive director LeAnne Parton spoke first, thanking the people who had made the banquet possible. Parton wheeled herself to the microphone on a scooter, having broken her leg a week and a half earlier, she explained.
Big Bend CC President Sara Thompson Tweedy spoke next and extolled the value of a community college education.
“This is deeply personal for me,” she said. “I am not a community college graduate. But both of my parents grew up in inter-generational rural poverty. My father went to Danville Technical Institute in Virginia, and my mother went to a nursing school, the precursor to the community college nursing programs that we know today. And it was because of those experiences that they were able to lift themselves out of poverty and into the middle class, and all four of their daughters. Every single one of us has some education beyond high school to do what we wanted to do with our gifts and skills and abilities. So I want to want you to think about the possibilities that become opportunities for people you may not even know, that you may not ever meet.”
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