Anacapa School’s 2016 auction, Il Carnevale di Anacapa, was inspired by student summer trips to Italy and the school’s Italian foreign language program. (Francis Cosworth / Anacapa School photo)

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Anacapa School’s 2016 auction Il Carnevale di Anacapa was a triumph of creativity, volunteerism and school spirit.

The March 13 event was the 32nd in the school’s history and, as in years past, showcased a love of Anacapa and all it accomplishes for its seventh-to-12th grade students.

The theme for Anacapa’s auction changes every year. Periodic student summer trips to Italy and the school’s Italian foreign language program inspired this year’s Venetian theme.

Chaired by the head of Anacapa’s Parent Leadership Team, Karen Bernstein, this year’s auction featured many generous donations from the Santa Barbara community as well as trips and unique services, such as the students’ Green Club raising money for a school garden by helping a lucky bidder do a garden project at home.

A limited edition print of Sophia Loren taken by widely acclaimed photographer Santi Visalli drew much interest in the live auction, as did a drone that students expertly maneuvered above the crowd in the tent.

Students become comfortable public speakers during their time at Anacapa, and their public speaking prowess was on full display at the family-friendly, Sunday afternoon event that took place under a large tent on the school’s campus at 814 Santa Barbara St. in downtown Santa Barbara.

Maria Rodriguez and Rosalba Banos were the creative masterminds behind the festive décor. Faculty members dressed as gondoliers had fun egging on the crowd during an animated live auction with auctioneer Paul Clay, whose humor has been put to work for the good of the school for 17 years. Clay enjoyed an entertaining repartee with Anacapa performing arts and history teacher, Dillon Yuhasz, onstage.

Anacapa trustee Julie Proctor gave countless hours to make the event a success, and trustees David Gore and Rick Knowles jumped into action as spotters during the live bidding. Anacapa Parent Leadership Team committee member Julia Alcerro put together class baskets that drew fierce bidding, and Via Maestra 42 provided a delicious Italian lunch for the nearly 200 attendees.

Many parent and student volunteers spent countless hours transforming Anacapa’s campus into recognizable scenes from Venice.

Just before the live auction, Anacapa founder and Headmaster Gordon Sichi, took the microphone to thank the many people involved in the auction. Later, during the scholarship drive, he announced several anonymous proxy bidders who, together with the crowd gathered under the tent, helped raise a total of $56,000 for scholarships.

In addition to being a triumph of creativity, volunteerism and school spirit, this year’s 2016 auction raised funds for school operating expenses and exciting school programs unique to Anacapa School.

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— Hilary Doubleday is the executive assistant at Anacapa School.