ADA — A night of opulence and elation will be presented to the residents of Ada in an Ada City Schools Foundation fundraiser on April 22, sponsors say.

This year's event will be the first Ada City Schools Foundation Salute to Education Gala and Casino Night, in which contributors will be entertained at the home of Dr. David and Penny Martin with live music and classic casino activities.

"The event runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and there will be a live band, Just Cause, playing," gala coordinator Somerlyn Cothran said. "There will be two separate tents; one for the music, hors'devours, those kinds of things, and another tent for the casino with different activities set up. We'll also be having a live auction at the end of the night--of course it's all fake money, but we have great prizes."

According to Cothran, this is the first attempt at raising money for Ada city schools outside of the standard pink flamingos-on-the-lawn showcase.

"This is my first year on the board but I know that it's just been raising a little money here and there and never really an event of this magnitude," she said. "I think the flamingo fundraising event raised a couple thousand dollars, and this event has already earned over $50,000."

The event raises money for the benefit of Ada City Schools teachers and students, according to Cothran, and has been active since 1988.

"It's a non-profit organization with the sole goal to fund projects in the classroom that normally can't get funded any way else," she said. "I think that this year we gave over $40,000 worth of grants out. Teachers apply every year, and you know, the more money we raise, the more grants we can give out each year. What this does is gives kids and teachers alike the chance just to have more money to spend in the classroom that they don't necessarily have."

Cothran said teachers apply for grants detailing how much money they need and what they're using it for. A committee makes the decision as to which teachers receive financial assistance.

"Teachers apply and there's a grant committee at the school foundation and we read though hundreds of grants before using a voting process," she said. "It's completely anonymous, we do not know who submits the grants; our decisions also depend on how much money we have to award."

As mentioned previously, this is Cothran's first year with the ACSF, although she's had experience with event planning before.

"They brought me on the board this year, because that's my business, fundraising and coordination and management," she said. "Everybody just put their heads together to try and think of something, and then we just tweaked the idea and how we could maximize it."

She also noted sponsorships are still available to purchase.

"There are still sponsorships available, ranging from $250 to $5000," she said. "Individual tickets are $150 a couple. It's black tie optional."

According to Cothran, while sponsorships are still available, there will be complimentary invitations for Ada city school teachers and their spouses for the RSVP only event.

"Ada city school system teachers and their spouses are complimentary, as long as they RSVP by April 12," she said."Trolley service will also be available from the First Presbyterian Church."

Some of the prizes that will be awarded at the gala will vary, from televisions to trips.

"We will be giving away a flat screen TV, hunting trips, things like that," she said. "We're going to have reserved seating for Ada High graduation, naming of the football stadium for the season. Just really unique things that you can't just buy all the time as well. It's just going to be a fun night for a great cause."

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