March 1: Madison Plains Scholastic Boosters Auction

Teacher Matt Unger gives freshman Ben Butz pointers on putting together a bench made with 2x4’s. The bench is among several student-made items to be sold at the Madison-Plains Scholastic Boosters auction on March 1.
Teacher Matt Unger gives freshman Ben Butz pointers on putting together a bench made with 2×4’s. The bench is among several student-made items to be sold at the Madison-Plains Scholastic Boosters auction on March 1.



By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Scholastic Boosters auction is a long-standing event at Madison-Plains High School, and like any event with a decades-long history, its full of traditions.

Every year, organizers collect a huge stockpile of donated items from area merchants, from gift certificates for restaurant meals, car care, hairstyling services and bowling to jewelry, tools and home décor.

Every year, that stockpile also includes extra special homemade and handmade goods, including a hickory nut cake worth thousands of dollars, furniture and home décor made by students, and quilts made by school supporters.

This year, those traditions will be up for bid on March 1 in the high school gym, 800 Linson Road, London. Doors open and the silent auction begins at 10:30 a.m. Lunch will be available at 11. The live auction starts at noon. The silent auction closes at 1 p.m., while the live auction continues.  The raffle features a 40-inch Samsung smart television; tickets are $5 each or $10 for three.

Hickory Nut Cake

The story of the “hickory nut cake with seven-minute icing” goes back to 1955 when Betty Weimer Wilson won best of show for the cake at the Ohio State Fair.

 “She won a gas stove but there was no gas on the farm. So, she sold it and bought an electric range at the Madison Rural booster auction (the early incarnation of the scholastic booster auction),” said Tim Wilson, Betty’s son and a 1983 Madison-Plains graduate.

Several years later, when Tim was a student at Madison-Plains, Betty made and donated a hickory nut cake each year to the auction. For many years, it was simply one more item, albeit a tasty one, up for bid.

 “Then all of a sudden, one year it went crazy. It brought in $1,200, and mom was so embarrassed. All that attention just wasn’t her thing. Another year when it brought in $2,500, she was ready to crawl under the bleachers,” Wilson said.

Betty passed away 15 years ago, but the tradition continues with Wilson making the cake from Betty’s type-written recipe.

 “I remember when I was a kid, it was my job to help hull the hickory nuts. They were so hard to hull, but I would give anything to sit beside my mother and do that again,” he said.

The hickory nut cake still attracts multiple bidders and buyers every year. Someone buys it and gives it back to be sold again, and the sequence is repeated many times over. The most the cake has generated in one auction is about $3,500.

 “Right after the bidding is done, all the buyers go and eat the cake in the commons. They bring forks andplates and eat it right there,” Wilson said.

The cake is a 40-plus year tradition at the auction.

Student-made items

Gary Hoffman has been teaching at Madison-Plains since 1992, and he remembers that even before then, the industrial arts classes had a tradition of making and donating items for the auction. Three years ago, the agriculture education classes joined in the tradition, too.

 “The scholastic boosters provide money for materials. The kids donate the labor,” Hoffman said. “The kids learn how to build their own project first, so they can quickly build another for the auction.”

This year, students are making coat hangers using reclaimed barn siding, Adirondack chairs, benches, shadowboxes and a four-foot long picnic table. They’re also refurbishing several wooden stools.


For many years, Peg Joslin made and donated a quilt to the auction. Now that she lives out of state, two new volunteers have picked up where she left off.

 “My mom, Chris Webb, and Nikki Beddington are each making a quilt this year, so the tradition continues,” said Darcey Mast, who serves as co-president of the booster club with Michelle Bayless. Jennifer Hunter is the treasurer.

The auction is the Scholastic Booster Club’s primary fundraiser, raising approximately $4,000 a year. The group also runs the football and soccer concession stands each fall. Funds go toward book scholarships for every senior who plans to attend college and three or four $1,000 scholarships for seniors with the highest grade point averages. The club also help to offset the cost of the annual Civics/English class trips to Washington D.C. and New York City.

The club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in the high school commons area and is open to new members.

For more information about the auction, to arrange an auction donation pick-up or to purchase a raffle ticket, contact: Darcey Mast, (614) 679-0551; Michelle Bayless, (740) 837-0355; Jennifer Hunter, (740) 852-3716; or Debbie Grabill, (614) 296-0226. The club will accept auction items up through the morning of the event.

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