Grapes 4 Grades
by Ray Newton
Thousands of Prescott-area children have benefited every summer for 39 years by a partnership program between the Prescott Frontier Rotary Club and the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD).
For the 14th year, the Grapes 4 Grades event let bidders enjoy finger food and wine tasting, followed by a raffle and live auction. The event has raised thousands of dollars to pay tuition for students in grades one through four to attend a summer school program.
More than 90 sponsors and contributors combined forces to raise funds June 30 at Watters Garden Center in Prescott. Watters hosted the popular Sunday event, themed as a “Mediterranean Garden Party.”
Hundreds of guests purchased raffle tickets and then bid at the live auction. Finger foods were prepared by local restauranteur Barry Barbe and his staff from El Gato Azul.
During a live auction of 30 items, local radio station owner Sanford Cohen served as auctioneer.
Grapes 4 Grades broke their $50,000 goal for the year with a new record of $68,000 raised, said event organizers.
David Lewerke, a 36-year member of the Prescott Frontier Rotary Club, said “Supporting our youth should be a priority for everyone in the community.”
Kathy Sischka, a board member for the Prescott Unified School District Education Foundation, was among those serving wine to guests. “This program helps support our youth because kids are just plain worth it,” she said.
Rotary officials said that because of the fundraiser, the summer school program is offered to qualified students at little or no expense, even though tuition ordinarily is about $200 for each student.
They also noted that support from last year’s Grapes 4 Grades activity let the club also financially assist more than 40 high school seniors who needed additional work online to earn graduation credits.