Yorkton, SK – Parkland College’s newest scholarship fundraiser, An Evening in Africa, is being lauded as a great success. Preliminary estimates indicate the Saturday night event at the Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton netted approximately $6,000 for post-secondary student scholarships at Parkland College. Once matched by the Government of Saskatchewan’s Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program, An Evening in Africa will fund about $12,000 in new scholarships.
“We are so thrilled that the community put its support behind this brand new fundraiser,” said Carol Wiens, chair of the organizing committee. “The turnout was fantastic, and dozens of local businesses really stepped up as sponsors. It’s remarkable to see the community give back in this way.”
An Evening in Africa was created as a fun night out after several community members noted Yorkton needed such a social function. Demand was very healthy, said Wiens, with about 95 per cent of the tickets sold. Attendees were treated to a live drumming and dancing performance from ONYXSTASIA African Princess Dance Troupe, two New York-style fashion shows featuring the latest spring looks for men and women, and numerous African-inspired appetizers and beverages.
The ONYXSTASIA African Princess Dance Troupe entertains the crowd.
“When you’re hosting an inaugural event, you never know how it’s going to go,” Wiens admitted, “but we’re so happy with the way it turned out. We raised a lot of money for our students, everyone had a great time, and we learned a few things to make our next night out an even bigger success.”
The night allowed Parkland College to highlight its long-standing connection to Africa. In the last decade, the college has invested in educational partnerships with institutions in Africa, several staff members have travelled to Kenya to share expertise and exchange ideas, and college staff have sponsored a young man in his quest to receive an education.
Parkland College is planning a similar fundraising event for 2014 titled Hooray for Bollywood. It will be a celebration of Indian culture and cuisine, as well as the college’s connection to India through its international student program.
An Evening in Africa was presented by Days Inn & Suites Yorkton, Painted Hand Casino, Yorkton This Week, The Rock 98.5, Melville Advance, The Plum Tree and Royal Drug Mart. Fashion show sponsors included K W Men’s Wear, LoSa Chic Boutique, Safire Clothing & Accessories, Pulse Apparel, Uptown Casuals, PF Studio & BBG Cosmetics, Cutters, Regis Salon, Top Image, and Up Top Hair Designs.
Models strutted down the runway in the latest spring fashions.
Door prizes and silent auction items were contributed by: Carmen’s Elegance in Flowers, Epicure, Frozen Cactus, LoSa Chic Boutique, Parkland College, PF Studio & BBG Cosmetics, Real Canadian Superstore, Source Embroidery, York House, Cab Clothing, Figures, Grower Direct Fresh Cut Flowers, Harmony Massage Therapy, Horizon Credit Union, K W Men’s Wear, LR Future Insurance & Investments, MR MIKES Steakhouse Casual, Pulse Apparel, Ruff’s Furniture, Safire Clothing & Accessories, Silver Energies, Step by Step Shoes, The Plum Tree, Tracy’s on Broadway, Uptown Casuals, Wagner’s Flooring, Welcome Home Crafts, Yorkton Co-op, and Young’s Plant World.
Contributions to the Parkland College Scholarship Initiative have helped the College maintain the ability to invest in the education and training of residents in the Parkland area. The fund itself has grown from $500 in its first year to over $100,000 in each of the last two academic years.
Since its inception in 1973, Parkland College has worked to expand the philosophy of life-long learning in East Central Saskatchewan. Among the seven basic principles upon which the community college system was founded is the idea that programs are to be developed in response to the needs of the community. Today, Parkland College offers a broad spectrum of educational services from trades training and high school upgrading to the province’s most diverse off-campus university offerings.
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An Evening in Africa Organizing Committee Chair