'Geibel Is Golden' auction scheduled

| Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 8:08 a.m.

“Geibel Is Golden” is the theme of Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School's eighth annual spring auction to be held on Saturday — the first of several events highlighting 50 years of education at Geibel.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. in the school, 611 E. Crawford Ave., Connellsville Township. Heavy hor d'oeuvres will be served, along with Church Brew Works, a Pittsburgh brewery, micro brews; there also will be a sangria fountain and wine tasting.

Live music for dancing will be presented by Brass Knuckles Band, featuring Geibel's music instructor, Nick Bell.

Highlights of the evening will include live and silent auctions as well as chances to win one of many distinctive, themed gift baskets. Dennis Noonan will return as auctioneer.

Some items to be auctioned are: 55-inch Smart TV; designer jewelry; more than 25 hotel “get-away” packages; Vera Bradley items; Nemacolin spa certificate; pampering at Nordstrom Ross Park; golf membership at Nemacolin Woodlands; iPad mini; more than 50 sports packages; Sidney Crosby signed jersey; Mario Lemieux signed hockey puck; Brooks Orpik signed jersey; Lawrence Timmons signed jersey; LaMarr Woodley signed jersey; outdoor lawn equipment; a BBQ; luggage; dining certificates; and Pittsburgh fun packages. Scholarships are from St. Francis University, $6,000; Carlow University, $3,000; Mt. Aloysius College, $1,000 tuition certificate; St. Vincent College, $5,000; Seton Hill, $2,500; and University of Dayton, $500.

The evening will include honoring a Geibel teacher, which has become tradition at this event.

Maj. Toni Henderson, chairperson of the science and math departments at Geibel, was selected this year's faculty honoree.

Henderson began her teaching career at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, where she taught for 14 years. In 1991, she joined the teaching staff at Geibel, where she has taught biology, anatomy, chemistry, technology, environmental science, and autodesk inventor.

Henderson is enthusiastic about promoting science education at Geibel. She has sponsored numerous Earth Day programs at the school and she shares her love of aerospace with her students through the Geibel Aerospace Program.

“Teaching at both diocesan high schools has been a wonderful experience,” Henderson said. “I am proud to be part of the education of our diocesan students, and to be recognized for what I enjoy doing is very humbling.”

Don Favero, principal of Geibel Catholic, praised Henderson as a “master teacher who brings a passion and intrinsic love of teaching into her classroom. What a great blessing she is for our school and students.”

Henderson has been an adjunct science faculty member at Seton Hill University, Greensburg; Mt. Aloysius College, Cresson; and Westmoreland County Community College. She retired with the rank of major from the Air Force Auxiliary, where she served as an aerospace education officer.

Henderson earned a bachelor's degree in biology and a teaching certificate from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. She holds a master's degree in aerospace science from the University of Pittsburgh and has given presentations in schools, colleges, universities and NASA space centers throughout the nation.

She received an Eberly Foundation Scholarship to Space Academy for Educators at the U.S. Space Academy in Florida. She has won regional, state and national awards through the Frank Brewer Civil Air Patrol Memorial Aerospace Program, given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of youths in aerospace activities.

Barb Johnson is chairwoman of the auction committee.

“Last year when my daughter came to Geibel from St. John's after eighth grade, I helped with the auction,” Johnson said. “There are good people at Geibel, and the parent involvement is what makes these events so nice.”

She said everyone helps. “We really appreciate the many volunteers. Donations are coming in hourly. I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our supporters and contributors. The auction items are phenomenal, very high end.

“Geibel Catholic was honored as one of the top 50 Catholic schools in the nation recently,” Johnson added, noting that is yet another reason for the “Geibel Is Golden” theme. “All proceeds go directly to tuition assistance for families with a financial need.”

Visit geibelmaestroweb.com to see a complete list of auction items. Tickets for the event are $25 each and must be purchased in advance by calling Chris Guzik at 724-628-5600.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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