Gallery: Hairspray and Neon Help Highlight 30-Year Partnership With Saline Schools

 02/12/2018 - 01:02

With all the hairspray used to glam up for Snowblast Saturday, local scientists might want to check on the health of the ozone layer over Saline.

The annual Foundation for Saline Area Schools event, held at Travis Pointe Country Club, raised tens of thousands of dollars in support of Saline educational initiatives. An auction, conducted by David Helmer, raised nearly $35,000. Two tours of Washington DC with Congressman Tim Walberg fetched $7,000 apiece. But if you think that’s grand, it’s nothing compared to the big hair on display at the 80s themed party.

The 80s fashion was nod to the origins of the Foundation for Saline Area Schools, founded in 1987. For 30 years, the organization has been funding classroom projects, strategic educational initiatives, and, more recently, “next generation” learning.

In some ways, Snowblast 2018 was “Back to the Future.” (There was even a Marty McFly spotting somewhere). The foundation was clearly celebrating its past while raising funds and investing in Saline’s future.

Katie Murphy is president of the foundation’s board of trustees.

“We’re all so thankful that 30 years ago, people like Bruce Paxton and Ellen Ewing had the vision and foresight to start a foundation that invested in our schools and provided teachers with additional funds for classroom activities,” Murphy said. “The foundation is one of the reasons why Saline Area Schools are what they are today. We’re celebrating that.”

Foundation officials were likely also celebrating a major fundraising success. The foundation potted nearly $35,000 from the live auction. Thousands more came from the silent auction.

As it has for 30 years, the foundation will continue funding mini-grants for teachers in the district. What has changed this year is that the foundation does not have a “strategic grant” project. There is no “Project Lead the Way” STEM project, or “Love of Language” world languages curriculum project. Instead the foundation, with a more sophisticated fundraising approach, is simply backing district-wide and school initiatives as needed.

Saline is one of the wealthier school districts in the state. But unlike some of the other wealthy communities in the state, the Saline district ranks near the bottom in state funding. In this way, the Foundation for Saline Area Schools is able to tap into the community’s wealth, to some degree, to support the school district.

Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden allowed that the foundation’s fundraising has become more professional since Annherst Kreitz was hired as director. But, he said, there more to it than money.

“Money is important and we need to be sure that we keep funding educational initiatives, but I see more than fundraising. I see Annherst making connections in the community and forming  mutually beneficial partnerships with regional corporations and non profit organizations,” Graden said.

The fruits of this labor may not be realized for a decade, he said. But the seeds are planted.

But some looked forward and some looked back, it was easiest to live in the moment Saturday night. DJ Brad Bezeau, principal of Saline Middle School, spun hits from the 80s. Guests mingled with celebrities like coach Jim Harbaugh and bent the ears politicians like Walberg and State. Rep Donna Lasinski. People enjoyed food, drink and laughter as they lampooned the silly fashions of the 80s.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at or call him at 734-272-6294.

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