The suspense appears to be building for the “Signature Event,” a first-time fundraiser for the Trenton Educational Foundation that will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, at Fratello’s Restaurant.

The reasons for all the suspense may be tied to several “surprises” being promised by the committee planning the event.

One of the biggest is expected to be the announcement of the first people to be honored on a new education “Wall of Fame” that will be created at Trenton High School.

At the recent Board of Education meeting, the TEF received approval to establish a committee to initiate the Wall of Fame.

“Candidates can be an educator, administrator or Trenton graduate,” said Mike McCullough, a member of the TEF and the committee. “Other criteria and number of inductees will be determined later.”

The TEF was founded three years ago by a group of residents who wanted to help raise money to fund special projects and programs not covered by traditional school funding. The Signature Event is seen as a way to enhance those efforts, perhaps on an annual basis.

“The TEF Signature Event will be a fun-filled evening with people from all different backgrounds coming together for one purpose — to support education in Trenton,” said David French, the TEF’s chairman. “This is one of the finest groups of people I have been privileged to work with. Mike McCullough and his team of dedicated committee members are preparing to take this event over the top.”

Tickets are $30 a person and can be obtained at Trenton City Hall, the Board of Education office, M&M Printing Inc. and Fratello’s, or by contacting Sue Yee at yees100@hotmail.com

The committee also is looking for sponsors and donations of items that can be put up for bid in the silent or live auctions that are planned. Call McCullough at (734) 671-0100 for sponsorship information or to donate auction items.

Along with auctions, the evening will include food, entertainment, prize drawings and other activities, some of which are still being development. McCullough said it will be an exciting evening where people “can have a great time and support a great cause.”

And, as far as some of the other “surprises” that are planned, what would a Signature Event be without a Signature Drink?

“Committee member Laurie Dixon is in charge of creating and naming the Signature Drink in honor of an educator who has made a significant contribution to educating Trenton youth.

McCullough said the identity of the honoree is classified “Top Secret” and will be revealed at the Event.

Original art, handcrafted by Trenton students and teachers, will be featured auction items among other donations by area businesses. Board of Education member and event committee member Marie Conflitti is encouraging all artists to consider donating to the Signature Event.

“The Signature Event is a wonderful way to showcase the work of our talented, local artists,” she said.

The event’s tagline is “Expect the Unexpected” and McCullough promises even more surprises.

“Our goal is to raise some funds to help raise the bar of educational excellence here in Trenton,” said Significant Event Chair Mike McCullough.

“Bottom line: we’re establishing a coalition of caring citizens, who want to make a difference and have some fun at the same time.”

Established in 2008 by a coalition of community leaders from various organizations, the TEF is now known as a source of “mini-grants” that teachers can seek to help fund special projects and activities not within the budget.

All levels of Trenton public education are helped by the TEF. For instance, one mini-grant last year was used for the creation of take-home bags that can be used to improve reading and writing skills. Similar to the concept of checking out materials from the library, these bags offered lower-elementary students a chance to do some extra learning. Some elementary students were also provided cameras to borrow for class projects.

At Boyd Arthurs Middle School, a method of using blocks to help create a learning tool for algebra received TEF funds.

And at Trenton High School, the annual Challenge Day (which gives students and adults a chance to assess how they accept others) is a moving experience that isn’t funded from the general budget, but with help from the TEF.

To be eligible for a grant (of up to $750), applicants must be able to provide a well-stated case for why their request is unique and will be affective.

The Foundation funds six integral areas of education — cultural enrichment, scholastic enrichment, arts and education, technology and learning, continuing education and professional development.

“The Trenton Educational Foundation is committed to support innovative and fresh ideas in education,” French said.         “Our primary focus is to support that area of teaching that the traditional funding methods do not support. This can bring a broader experience of learning to the students in Trenton schools.”

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