Catholic Central High School students wait tables at a past Topper Dinner and Auction, the annual fundraiser for the Burlington school, which has brought in about $1 million dollars since 1985. (Submitted photo courtesy Catholic Central High School)

BURLINGTON — They might be small in numbers, but the Catholic Central community and coordinators of the annual Topper Dinner and Auction have posted some large fundraising totals. Since 1985, the dinner, auction and car raffle have brought in about $1 million for the community of 150-160 students.

To celebrate the silver anniversary of the school’s main fundraiser, event co-chairs, Lloyd and Joan Sippel, promise this year’s event will be bigger and better and will be celebrated at the newly-remodeled Veterans Terrace in Burlington.

“In previous years, we have had the auction on the CCHS campus, which made it a challenge to work around the school’s schedule,” said Joan. “It also required considerable rearranging of the facilities in order to have the auction. Having this at the Veterans Terrace will reduce the set up and tear down time involved.”

The event, slated for Saturday, Nov. 7, will feature a dinner, dance, auction and car raffle. Although the Sippels have been involved as co-chairs for the past 10 years, they credit its success to the more than 100 people involved.

“This includes 18 committee members, gift scouts, computer operators, auction booklet compilers, physical set up people, decorators, student servers, people selling car raffle tickets, beverage servers, and clean-up help,” Joan said.

The dinner auction is a labor of love, said Heidi Reuter Lloyd, publicity chairman.

“The event is done almost exclusively by volunteers,” she said. “Over the past 25 years, there have only been three or four chair couples to run the event.”

With the cost of education rising and the economic climate declining, fundraising is the backbone of all parochial schools.

If you want to go:

Saturday, Nov. 7
The 25th Annual Topper Dinner and Auction

Veterans Terrace
589 Milwaukee Ave., Burlington
5 p.m. – midnight

For more information or to purchase a car raffle ticket, contact Georgean Selburg (262) 763-1518

“We hope to make it possible for many more students to attend Catholic Central High School,” explained Joan. “The dinner auction is just one of a number of fundraising events for the school.”

Members of St. Thomas Aquinas in Waterford, the Sippels, who live in Rochester, are believers in Catholic education. Their seven children attended area Catholic grade schools and Catholic Central High School.

“I taught second grade at St. Thomas for 10 years and was principal at St. Charles in Burlington for seven years,” said Joan, adding, “Lloyd serves on the CCHS development committee and we both are active in the endowment committee, and enjoy co-chairing the dinner and auction with 16 other committee members.”

Last year’s profits topped $100,000 and the Sippels anticipate meeting or exceeding that.

“We have in excess of 300 auction items, with more coming in each day,” said Lloyd.

Despite the amount of work involved, the Sippels and other supporters of Catholic Central feel the efforts will pay back dividends.

“A faith-centered education is a good way to learn and grow, to appreciate the gift of faith,” said Joan. “And we hope to set a good example for others.”