One Sunday in late September, the Class of 2022 gathered in the Decherd Fine Arts Center to continue a longstanding St. Mark’s tradition: the Senior Auction. The Seniors hosted parents, younger Marksmen, faculty, staff, and other friends of the School to auction off a wide variety of items donated by members of the Class. The unique items included artistic creations, musical performances, athletic events, a St. Mark’s Senior flag signed by every member of the Class, and much, much more. Musical ensembles performed and auctioned off their services, while other groups showcased opportunities to share their athletic, academic, and other creative talents across the St. Mark’s community. Everything from language lessons and computer games to lacrosse lessons and guided fishing expeditions was up for auction. Veteran faculty member and Director of Admission & Financial Aid David Baker once again served as emcee and auctioneer for this event, helping the boys raise an astonishing total of more than $100,000 in less than four hours.
Each year, proceeds from the Senior Auction provide funding for a variety of important Marksmen activities and traditions and enable the Class to make a substantive contribution back to the School on the day of their graduation. That gift is announced at the Senior Alumni Luncheon on the day of Commencement and generally includes a directed gift to support several important school-wide priorities.
Given the unprecedented and unexpected response to this year’s Auction and the record-breaking financial tally, the Class of 2022 immediately approached the Administration about going ahead and making a substantive gift to the School in advance of their ultimate Class Gift this coming May. Eugene McDermott Headmaster David W. Dini noted that, “within 24 hours of the Auction, Senior leaders reached out to ask what they could do to help the School.” After a series of discussions, the Class decided to immediately contribute $50,000 to establish the Class of 2022 Scholarship Endowment Fund, which will provide expanded opportunities for more boys to attend St. Mark’s.
“A record-breaking auction calls for record-breaking generosity,” said Alex Geng ’22, Student Body President. “At St. Mark’s, we preach the tenets of inclusion and diversity, and we believe that every student should have the opportunity to attend the School, regardless of financial status.”
In addition to establishing this endowment, the Class of 2022 also plans to continue the well-established Senior Gift tradition at the end of the year, setting yet another positive example for future classes to follow.
“These boys have experienced roadblocks these past few years, from the tornado to the ongoing pandemic, and our incredible community has stepped up to ensure they have a memorable final year,” said English teacher GayMarie Vaughn, who co-sponsors the Senior Class along with History teacher Bryan Boucher. “As a result, the boys wanted to return the generosity they experienced. They want to leave a legacy that demonstrates reciprocal care for their community.”
Special thanks to the many families who participated in this annual tradition and provided such wonderful support for the Class of 2022, and, ultimately, for the whole school community. We are also deeply grateful to the Senior Class for demonstrating such care, thoughtfulness, and generosity on behalf of Marksmen who will follow in their footsteps.