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Karaoke Jam

The athletic department at Russellville (Ark.) High School recently held a karaoke and silent auction fundraiser.

For one night this year, Russellville (Ark.) High School turned into the Vegas strip, when the school hosted the "Russ-Vegas: Coaches Karaoke and Silent Auction" to raise money for the athletic department. The low-cost event generated $5,000 for the department, and created a buzz that spread throughout the community.

"I figured this would be a great way to get our coaches together and help raise some money for the department," says Johnny Johnson, Russellville High School Athletic Director, who organized the event with the help of parents. "Our main goal, however, was to make it a fun event, which is why we decided to do the karaoke."

Russ-Vegas was held at the school's new fine arts center, with the silent auction occurring in the lobby. Many auction items were outings or events that the Russellville coaching staff provided. Community members could bid on the chance to go on a fishing trip with the head girls' basketball coach, watch a boys' basketball game from the bench, or spend a game on the sidelines with the football team. Several coaches also offered free admission to their sport camps, or 30-minute sport-specific instruction sessions.

"We wanted to sell an experience," Johnson says. "But we also wanted things that parents could get for their children, such as admission into camps."

Another unique aspect to the auction was a "Buy it Now" option for the items, which allowed people to purchase an item outright rather than engage in a bidding war. "I thought that would be great for people who really had their eye on something," Johnson says.

The silent auction ran from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., with karaoke starting immediately afterwards in the theater. The coaches were the performers, although Johnson says he'd like to get well-known Russellville citizens, such as the mayor, to participate in the future.

The only expenses the school had were $600 to rent the karaoke machine and $250 paid to a local DJ to act as the host. "The karaoke company hooked everything up to our sound system, so we didn't have to worry about that," Johnson says. "They even provided the extra microphone stands."

The school promoted the event through e-mails to community members, postings on social media, as well as ads in the local paper and on the radio station. All told, the school made roughly $1,700 from admissions ($10 entrance for adults, $5 for students), $2,300 in the auction, and $1,500 from a sponsorship by a car dealership.

Overall, Johnson says the event was a rousing success. "I think administrators would be surprised how easy it is to put on an event like this," he says. "If you've got the facility, and coaches who are willing to donate their time to auction winners, donate items, and participate in karaoke, people will be excited." is brought to you by a recognized and established name in the school athletics arena, MomentumMedia—publisher of Athletic Management, Coaching Management and Training & Conditioning magazines.