Pilot story and photos

by Andrea Barkan

The bleachers at Brookings-Harbor High School were loosely filled Saturday night with people clutching numbered auction paddles that flashed up and down in time with the auctioneer's rhythmic monologue.

The 2004 Bruin Bash raised about $9,000 for the high school's Safe and Sober Graduation Party, said Sherry Friar, graduation party committee chairperson.

Money raised is mostly used to buy party prizes. Last year some of the prizes included computers and kayaks, she said.

andquot;I think we're going to be in a good situation as far as getting the prizes for the kids and having a great party,andquot; Friar said.

Some people came to the auction with their eye on something specific; others just came to help raise funds for the safe and sober committee.

andquot;We're here for that green jeep,andquot; Kathy Viola said of the John Deere andquot;kiddy carandquot; that Curry Equipment donated.

Viola said Friar, who teaches at Kalmiopsis Elementary School, told her son Sawyer about the jeep early last week.

andquot;And that's all we've heard about,andquot; she said.

andquot;If anyone else bids on it I'm going to have to take them out,andquot; she joked.

Cliff Thomason had his eye on KURY Radio's advertising spots, he said.

His 7-year-old daughter Chloe's hopes were riding on a skateboard.

andquot;They're always kind of fun,andquot; Thomason said of auctions. andquot;You can get good deals ? and it's for a good cause. The safe and sober program is definitely worthwhile.andquot;

Brookings-Harbor High School Principal George Park said the party drew 100 percent of graduates the past couple years.

andquot;It sets up a tradition where our seniors want to be there, want to be with their friends,andquot; Park said.

andquot;The committee has done such a good job it's the thing to do,andquot; Park said. andquot;It's cool to be there.andquot;

Friar said the safe and sober committee started holding the annual auction in 1997.

Dan Brattain volunteered as auctioneer for the second year in a row.

andquot;It's a lot of work but it's worth it and the kids just have a blast,andquot; Friar said.

Sanna Hayes went to the auction to support her son, who will be a 2004 graduate.

andquot;This is a lot of fun,andquot; Hayes said as she bid on a vase that was part of the silent auction.

Hayes said even though her youngest child is graduating this year, she will likely return to the auction next year.

andquot;They've got a lot of unique items,andquot; she said.

Donated items included paintings by local artists, beauty packages, a camping package and a queen-sized handmade quilt.

andquot;It's more fun than just shopping,andquot; Hayes said. andquot;There's this sense of anticipation. It's exciting. It's like you get a prize if you win. It's kind of like gambling only you get to take something home.andquot;

The safe and sober party is scheduled from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. June 5 at Wild River Brewing andamp; Pizza in Harbor.