2016 Polar Bear Foundation Gala
The ballroom of the West Shore Country Club was alive with energy and enthusiasm as attendees gathered for the 9th annual Polar Bear Foundation Gala on April 22. It is the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year and is always anxiously anticipated. All profits from the event support the students of the Northern York County School District. Since it began in 2006 the Foundation has given in excess of $190,000 to the district in the form of scholarships, mini-grants to teachers, and program grants, fulfilling their mission to invest in programs and activities that enrich the academic, athletic, cultural and artistic development of all Northern students.
Those in attendance enjoyed the music of the Northern Jazz Combo featuring middle school and high school students, under the direction of Mr. Chad McCartney. The Gala’s Silent Auction is always a hit with the crowd and this year found many participants trying to outbid one another for prized items, which included specialty baskets donated by the staff in each of the district’s six schools. The evening’s program, hosted by Superintendent Dr. Eric Eshbach, featured presentations by three Polar Bear Foundation grant recipients: Mrs. Laura Bissell, NHS Musical Director; Mr. Troy Sauer, Northern Middle School Assistant Principal; and Miss Allyson Lang, 3rd Grade Teacher at Northern Elementary.
Mr. Tim Colgan, President of the Polar Bear Foundation presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Mr. Matt Lusk. Matt, a Northern grad, has three young children who attend South Mountain Elementary. He is the owner of Aquavisions Inc., a company known for its unique pool designs. Matt coached middle school wrestling for over 10 years and as a community volunteer, continues to devote his time to youth sports. Matt joined the PBF Board a year ago and quickly brought new energy to the Events Committee. He committed to taking an active role on the Golf Outing Committee, volunteering his time and valuable input, during all the planning phases of the event. It was Matt who proposed the idea of hosting a corn hole tournament. Matt spearheaded this effort, generating much enthusiasm among the PBF board members and the community. His leadership role on the Events Committee continued as planning for this year’s Gala began. Matt was instrumental in the creation of the new yearlong sustaining sponsorship program that has been implemented, beginning with the Gala.
Dr. Brian Small, a member of the Polar Bear Foundation Board, presented this year’s Friend of the Foundation Award to the Barbara and Lloyd Eichelberger Family. Prior to the establishment of the Foundation in 2006, many members of the community contributed in various ways to the operation of the school district and its programs. The spirit of giving and sharing has always been a focus of the Eichelberger Family. Barbara, Lloyd, and their children, always encouraging the Foundation, were among the first PBF contributors, financially and creatively. Daughter Mrs. Sharon Eichelberger Ayers accepted the award on behalf of her parents.
The Polar Bear Foundation continues to work hard to benefit all Northern students. Community support is essential in helping the Foundation fulfill its mission. Participation as community members on the various committees, participants at the various fundraisers, and tax-deductible financial contributions are ways to support the work of the Foundation as it moves forward.