Silent auction, bake sale Sept. 24 to support Cowden Lake school

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 5:34 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2011

CORAL — In 1861, Elizabeth Parker was hired to be the teacher for the first school built in what is now Maple Valley Township.
The school was a 18-feet by 24-feet log cabin built in the northwest quarter of the township. Parker was paid $3 a week, boarded with her students’ families and taught only three months of the year.
Ten years later, with the lumbering business growing and more families moving into the area, a meeting was held to form ideas on how to raise funds for a larger school. Land was donated and the new building — called Coral School — was built with $3,000.
Coral School closed in the 1970s. Cowden Lake Bible Church purchased and renamed the building Cowden Lake Baptist Academy in 1986.
As tradition, the school will once again host a silent auction and bake sale fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday or until all items are sold at the Coral Community Center.
“We would like to raise some money to help with winter heating costs and building repairs,” Cowden Lake Baptist Academy secretary Becky Rust said.
Heating with oil costs nearly $15,000 each year. Organizers hope to raise $7,000 to help offset the rising cost of fuel to heat the building, according to Rust. Any excess funds would go toward building repairs.
“The original goal was $10,000, but with the economy the way it is we decided we ought to decrease it,” Rust said.
The last silent auction in 2005 raised $6,000, she said.
Items for the auction and bake sale have come from local businesses and community members, including Cowden Lake Bible Academy families, said auction organizer Kara Deurloo, a parent of Academy students.
“We have had places like McDonald’s, Applebee’s, Pizza Hut, Auto Zone, Bath & Body Works and many others donate items or certificates. Many parents and members of the community have already donated things, too,”  Deurloo said.
Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation or donate for the silent auction or bake sale can bring items to the school, Rust said.

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