A freshly formed booster group is looking to raise money to alleviate costs for high school athletes in the Westerville City School District.
The Westerville Interscholastic Athletic Committee, which formed after budget cuts led to an increase in pay-to-play fees this school year, will host its first casino night fundraiser from 7 to 11:30 p.m. April 5 at the Grand Valley Dale Ballroom, 1590 Sunbury Road in Columbus.
Tickets went on sale this week.
For the cost of tickets, which are $55 for an individual, $90 per couple or $360 for a table of eight, participants will receive dinner, $100,000 in "fun money" to use in Monte Carlo-style casino games, entry into a grand prize drawing and a night of entertainment.
The event has a capacity of just more than 500 people, and event chairwoman Jacqui Hardiman said event organizers hope to raise $50,000 to lower pay-to-play fees, provide scholarships to college-bound athletes and help with the purchase of uniforms and equipment for the high school sports teams.
"It's an aggressive goal," Hardiman said. "We've got to push for it."
The fundraiser has been put on for the last two years by boosters athletes at Westerville Central High School. Last year's event raised $20,000 to support Central athletes, Hardiman said, and the Interscholastic Athletic Committee hopes the combined effort of the schools will draw more support from the community.
"What we've heard in the past is that, 'We won't sponsor an event from your high school without sponsoring the other high schools,' " Hardiman said. "It helps our businesses in the community to now sponsor an event that helps all three high schools."
Hardiman said she also hopes the event will draw the support of community members, who she said will be able to enjoy a fun night out at a reasonable cost to benefit local student athletes.
"It's a great event, great adult night out for an even more awesome cause," Hardiman said. "It's one of those events where people can come out and have a lot of fun with food, gaming, and they'll have the opportunity to come away with some great prizes."
Tickets to the event are available via the committee's website, wiac.us. Tickets are being sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Anyone interested in sponsoring the event can contact Hardiman by e-mail at Jacqui.firstname.lastname@example.org.