"It's what Christi would have wanted us to do," said Patty Tennant, development director for the two Catholic schools in the city. "In times of trouble, families come together. That is why we decided to hold it as planned. Notre Dame is a big family."
Christi, of course, is Christi Layne, the fifth-grade teacher at Notre Dame Elementary and Preschool who was stabbed and shot by a glancing bullet in her classroom Thursday morning by William Michael Layne, the husband she was seeking to divorce.
One of the items offered in the silent auction at the Friends Center was a 200-pound landscape boulder offered by Christi Layne's students. It was engraved with the Notre Dame emblem and painted in Titan school colors. Portsmouth Monument Co. volunteered to deliver the stone for the winning bidder to a spot anywhere in Scioto or Greenup (Ky.) counties. At 7:30 p.m., six people had entered bids, with the highest being $250.
Before going to the school, Mike Layne, who shot and killed himself later in the day, stabbed his girlfriend, 22-year-old Stephanie Loop, behind a house five blocks from the school. His weapon was a pocket knife.
Christi Layne, 53, was reported by family members Saturday to be stable and recovering in Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va.
Loop was stable but still critical at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, according to family members.
Father Matt Hoover, pastor of St. Monica's Church in New Boston and St. Peter's Church in Wheelersburg, in his invocation before the dinner, prayed for both victims and their families and thanked God the tragic turn of events did not turn into even more of a tragedy.
The auction dinner was a sellout, with 350 people paying $40 a ticket. Guests bid on silent auction items and also participated in a vocal auction.
Items offered in the auction were donated by merchants and individuals. They included a Jan. 3-10 2009, stay at Seven Seas Resort Condo in Daytona Beach, and a stay at the Inn on Biltmore Estate, plus two $750 Biltmore Estate gift certificates.
Tennant said the first auction, three years ago, brought in $43,000, while last year's raised $56,000.
"We did not set a goal for this year, so we'll see what it does," she said. "We're just so very thankful for the businesses in this community who help us with this."
She said all of the money raised by the auction will be evenly divided between Notre Dame High School and Notre Dame Elementary and Preschool.
The money goes for purchase of supplies and technical equipment.
A number of expensive gifts also were raffled off, with tickets going for $10 and $20. One raffle prize was $2,000 worth of tuition money at the schools.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.