Oxfam Auction Raises $500 In 2008, After $5,000 in 2007

Miscommunication, difficulty obtaining desirable auction items and an audience disinclined to bid all contributed to a poor haul at PA’s annual Oxfam Auction, said Michaeljit Sandhu ’09, Coordinator of Oxfam. The action raised approximately $500 last Saturday, compared to $5,000 in 2007. A mix-up between the Student Activities Office and Community Service Office led to The Weekender publishing an incorrect start time for the auction, Sandhu said. Sandhu also explained that parents this year did not donate as many items for bidding, especially high-priced ones. High school students’ frugality also created another challenge for the auction, according to Sandhu. This year’s auction, hosted by Eliza Dewey ’09, Annie Glancy ’09 and Jill Kozloff ’09, featured items donated by faculty and staff at Phillips Academy, as well as items from merchants in the Town of Andover. Between bidding, Azure, Phillips Academy’s female a capella group, performed for the audience. As the final student performer, Lauren King ’10 shaved her head in front of the Oxfam bidders. King will donate her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that gives wigs to children who have lost their hair because of illness. King also raised money through pledges for Guardian Angels, a non-profit organization that gives funds to cancer patients. King wore her hair in braids to the auction, which she allowed students to cut off for five dollars each. King estimates that she raised $50 from selling her braids. “I hope it made an impact on the community,” said King. Sandhu said, “I thought Lauren King’s head-shaving was particularly inspiring… She really embodied the spirit of selfless giving, which is kind of a hallmark of Oxfam.” King added, “I don’t feel very different. My head feels a lot lighter, and I’m colder.” Kozloff, also a board member of the Phillips Academy Oxfam chapter, said, “After Lauren King shaved her head, there was an increase in positive energy. I noticed a lot more people were bidding and [the auction] picked up a lot of speed after that. Maybe after seeing Lauren do something so generous, people were more inclined to bid more money.” Eliza Nguyen ’09 said, “My friends and I decided to attend the auction first of all because we really wanted to see Lauren King shave her head.” Nguyen and her friends ended up being the highest bidders of the evening. The six of them bid $125 on a meal at Aneesa Sayall and Jeanette Saraidaridis’ house. “At first we decided to go to $100, but then when it came time to bid on the item, we all started getting competitive and [I] just kept bidding until the other [bidders] put their hands down. $125 is a lot of money, but at least it’s going to a good cause,” said Nguyen. Other items up for auction included an array of baked goods and jewelry. DiBerardino, a performer and bidder at the auction, said, “I liked that baked goods were offered, especially with finals week approaching.” Matt Appleby ’11 won a jewelry set and two pizzas prepared by Jon Stableford, Department Chair and Instructor in English. “I bid on the jewelry set because I thought they’d be good gifts. I thought the two pizzas with Mr. Stableford would also be good items to bid on because Mr. Stableford is awesome, and he makes really good food,” said Appleby. The proceeds of the auction were donated to Oxfam International, an organization that directs its efforts toward combating world poverty and injustice. The money raised at this year’s auction will be donated specifically to Oxfam’s campaign for funding education initiatives in third world countries, according to Sandhu. This campaign was selected by a vote of members of the Phillips Academy Oxfam chapter, Sandhu said. “I feel like Oxfam is known for focusing on world hunger relief, and this is a good chance to shift our focus to education . . . A lot of times people can take for granted why we’re here and how we’re getting this great education that sometimes we forget that some people can’t even go to school, let alone one as good as ours,” said Kozloff.