TVCC Gala returns to Four Rivers raise money for student scholars

The TVCC Foundation raises money each year for student scholarships at a gala event that has become a community tradition. (Enterprise file photo)

ONTARIO – More than 300 students at Treasure Valley Community College have good reason to hope a fundraising auction coming up next week goes well.

They each share in scholarships that cover some of their school costs with money raised at the biggest event of the year for the TVCC Foundation.

The annual gala is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 5, at Four Rivers Cultural Center.

“The money is ultimately going to students, providing the whole student body an opportunity to come here and earn money, do well in classes, do well in sports,” said Caresse Basaraba, a student from Elko, Nevada, who plays softball as a Chukar.

Basaraba said the scholarship helps her focus on school – and to pursue her ambition to become a sports broadcaster. At TVCC, she is student government vice president and also the student liaison on the TVCC Foundation board.

Janela Jones of Nyssa will graduate from TVCC’s nursing program next June on her way to becoming a registered nurse.

She took initial medical classes while at Vale High School, including certified nursing assistant training at TVCC.

Jones said she was motivated to do so because of what she witnessed when her brother had a medical diagnosis that put him in an Idaho hospital. Jones said she saw how the nurses cared for him.

“That really made an impact on me,” she said. “They were a role model for me – to be that type of person for other families.”

She said her scholarship from TVCC has been crucial to pursue a nursing career.

The financial pressures of paying for school were lifted by the scholarship help.

“And knowing that I’m getting support from people locally makes it even more meaningful,” she said.

Jones said she intends to work as a nurse in the community, which she sees as “a big way for me to give to the community.”

She said potential donors should realize the scholarships are not just helping the high school graduates. The increasing availability of scholarships means that “a lot of other people who weren’t able in their younger years to go to college are able to do so.”

Jones also said “it’s awesome” to see more students of color getting that benefit as well.

Cathy Yasuda, foundation executive director, noted the fundraiser had to be done virtually last year and “it’s just not the same.”

She said the foundation board made the “tough decision” to return to an in-person event. “We just felt it was important.”

She said Covid protocols in place at the cultural center will be followed, including a masking requirement. She said the traditional seating of eight around a table will be in place, although tables will be spaced more than usual.

The focus for the night will be on the bidding. A long list of items including gift certificates for meals, services and products will be offered in the silent auction, and auctioneer Tyson Baker will lure more support for the foundation with about 15 marquee items.

Among the items expected to draw big dollars under Baker’s steady patter are a Baker City excursion that includes two nights at the Geiser Grand Hotel, Nordic skiing at Anthony Lakes, and a museum tour. There will be packages for stays at Tamarack Resort in Idaho and a weekend in Boise that includes tickets to “Hamilton.”

Perhaps one of the more intriguing items that should catch the attention of parents or grandparents is the “ultimate dream birthday.”

This package includes a ride in a fire truck, an Idalia Stam cake, a child’s riding vehicle and more.

“We will have something for everyone,” Yasuda promises.

The social hour and silent auction start at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 per person and available at Red Apple Marketplace, 555 S.W. 4th Ave. in Ontario, or at the cultural center. For more information, reach the TVCC Foundation at 541-881-5586.

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