Touring the Marco Island Academy, a public charter high school, one can easily see that the facility has outgrown its tenants.
Students, albeit seriously imbibing math and science lessons and exploding with creativity in art class, need more space to stretch growing limbs as well as their minds.
“We are having open enrollment all month and interest is high by parents who really want to keep their kids on the island,” said academy board member Dawn Vergo.
“Charter school enrollment is typically expected to double and our current location can no longer accommodate additional students.”
Vergo, a parent of two Tommie Barfield Elementary students, volunteers her time at both schools and is passionate about furthering the cause of student education.
To aid in raising necessary funds for expansion, the Marco Island Discovery Center, a Florida non-profit organization is busy with a season of fundraisers.
The next event will be held from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Feb. 24 at the Marriott Beach Resort when, dressed in cocktail attire, attendees will enjoy a full evening of festivities that will include dinner and entertainment and valet service.
Marriott Chef Juan Martinez promises a gourmet steak dinner with all the trimmings.
Naples Performing Arts owner, Lori Vallieres and NPA Director of Dance Jeffrey Hajko will coordinate a series of dance exhibition numbers at around 8 p.m.
The show will open with a medley of Broadway show tunes performed by student dancers Allie Vallieres, age 9 and Clint Wood, age 11 dancing the foxtrot.
Two sets of four numbers with a 10 minute break will include exhibition dances by local dancer Jean Hertzog who will perform a Viennese waltz, a samba and a bolero with Hajko.
Vallieres will dance with two celebrity guests. Chad Oliver, ABC 7 News anchor, the recent winner of the Naples’ Dancing with the Stars will perform a swing number, and Chef Piro Rodriquez, an interpretive theatre arts dancer will demonstrate lifts and other dance moves.
Guests are invited to bid on silent auction items at 6:30 p.m. that were donated by local businesses.
Steve Macko of Morgan Stanley, Smith and Barney will sponsor a table on behalf of his family and his wife, Jennifer will also donate a basket of jewelry pieces from her business, JK Jewel Kade.
Other items include dinner for eight at the Bonefish Grill and a pair of seven-day condo stays at the Four Seasons and at Naples’ Waldorf Astoria.
The Rose Marina, a table sponsor will also donate a boat rental and the Naples Performing Arts is donating four private ballroom dancing lessons valued at $400 and a series of four private acting lessons valued at $300.
Sponsorships are available at $1,000 for a table of 10. Sponsors’ names will appear at the table as well as on the Web site.
Proceeds from the event will go toward educational materials, as well as the building fund for the new school that now holds 75 students.
Marco Island Academy Chairperson, Jane Watt said that the new school location will be at 2255 San Marco Road.
The school will be set up like a campus with approximately 10 modular buildings to be erected by August, with an additional six modular units to be added in 2013.
“We are at the final negotiations with the modular company right now. We are also looking for donations to help support the capital fund. As a charter school, we have to work very hard to raise money in the local community to support the school,” said Watt.
“The Marco Island Academy is not building a school; it is building a future for the students who live in our community.”
Watt said that the charter school receives five percent less funding than traditional district schools and does not receive funding for the facilities.
Persons interested in supporting the school by a tax-deductible contribution, can send a check payable to Marco Island Discovery Center, 1450 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145.
Past fundraisers and donations have netted the school over $200,000. Other upcoming events include the annual 5K run on March 10 and the Go for the Green Golf Outing on April 28 at the Marriot Golf Course.
If you go
Ballroom Dancing Extravaganza
Where: 400 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island (Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort)
When: 6:30-10:30 p.m. February 24
Tickets: $75 per person. Make checks payable to Marco Island Academy and mail to Dawn Vergo, 279 Copperfield Court, Marco Island, FL 34145
Contact: (239) 404-3622 or email@example.com