FBLA to host online auction for Kenney family

Hannah Gross

This ‘basket’ of goodies donated by the News Letter Journal is just one of the many baskets being donated for an FBLA online auction to benefit the family of Newcastle High School student Dillon Kenney.


Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent 


Starting Feb. 25 and going through Feb. 28, Newcastle High School students who are members of Future Business Leaders of America are hosting an online basket auction fundraiser to raise money for fellow classmate senior Dillon Kenney, who is battling health issues. 

“He and his family have made several trips to St. Jude’s in Denver, as well as undergone a lot of testing through Mayo Clinic, amassing a lot of medical debt. Dillon has an extremely rare condition, as well as a mass in his lung,” FBLA adviser Alysha Engle said. “Some of the members, who are also Dillon’s classmates and friends, suggested that we split the proceeds to help the Kenney family.”

FBLA secretary and senior Hailey Wehri said the group looked into various online auction software and decided to run the auction through the Ramsey Real Estate website. They are still in the process of gathering basket donations from local people and businesses, but they expect to have a nice array for participants to bid on. 

“We have a lot of amazing donors who usually put together beautiful baskets,” Wehri said. 

The idea for a silent basket auction fundraiser started several years ago in 2013 when a senior named Joey Rhoades was sick. The students in FBLA wanted to raise money to help cover the financial costs of his medical bills. According to Wehri, the idea was so popular that it became an annual fundraising project for Totes of Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides food for students from low-income families for the weekends. 

Normally, all the money raised is donated to the program, but Totes of Hope facilitators said they had more than enough funds for the year. Although FBLA members will still donate some of the proceeds to Totes of Hope, the organization decided to give 90% of the money raised to the Kenney family. 

“Ideally, we would like to make the $5,000 mark, but we haven’t hit that much since the first year. Hopefully, since a portion of it is being donated to the Kenney family, it will bring in more,” Wehri said. 

Engle, who has been the program’s adviser for 10 years, said she loves FBLA because it teaches the students the importance of service, teamwork and networking. And this fundraiser gives them the ample opportunity to put that into practice. 

“I decided to join FBLA because I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to improve my leadership and teamwork skills and spend some time in community service … that is really meaningful, such as Totes of Hope,” Wehri said. “I have learned a lot through my experiences in FBLA with Mrs. Engle and my other team members.”

Anyone interested in donating a basket or cash or in bidding on auction items can contact Engle or any of FBLA’s 31 members for more information. 

“I love to give back to the community, and I love that such a large percentage of the student body can become involved, and it teaches them to serve rather than to receive,” Engle said.


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