Charity auction to benefit high school vocational trades programs


Photo courtesy Kim Elzinga

By Kim Elzinga
Special to The PREVIEW
Build Pagosa invites all to its second annual charity auction, dinner and dance this Friday, May 3, at the Ross Aragon Community Center.
Festivities begin at 5 p.m. with a rustic gourmet dinner prepared by Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS) Culinary Arts students — their first major catering event. The evening’s musical spotlight once again will showcase The San Juan Mountain Boys with local duo Ron Lowe and Glenn Unrath.
Friday’s auction features several dog houses and, new this year, an 8-foot-by-16-foot garden shed. All structures were built by students from the PSHS Building Trades program. Also new this year, attendees will be able to bid on 5-gallon bucket deals filled with goodies donated by local businesses.
“We are truly blessed to live in a community that cares about the success of its young people,” commented Build Pagosa board president Larry Ash. “Last year, our first dog house auction was a total success — mostly because people saw the potential of what’s happening at the high school with the vocational trades program and were willing to support it … and have a great time in the process. We’re anticipating even more fun and great outcomes this year. It’s amazing to see what can happen when we all work together. We are Build Pagosa!”
Advance tickets are available online at, $20 per adult and $6 for kids. Or, purchase tickets at the door for $25 per adult, $6 per kid. Adult admission includes dinner, two free drink tickets (beer/wine) and an auction card. All proceeds will return to PSHS’s Building Trades and Culinary Arts programs to help provide additional classes, materials, supplies and more.
The rustic gourmet dinner includes smoked barbecued brisket, smoked sausage, smoked chicken wings, spicy deviled eggs, hummus and pita, cilantro slaw and chipotle pineapple black beans. Complementary beverages include water, tea and lemonade. Archuleta School District’s food service director, Todd Stevens, created the menu.
Dog houses up for auction are insulated, painted and roofed. Students from the Building Trades I class built each dog house (same design as last year’s model), applying valuable construction skills they gained throughout the school year. Students in the Building Trades II class built the 128-square-foot garden shed, which is fully weatherproof and includes a 4-foot sliding door.
“It has been a joy to work with my students in the Building Trades program and witness their enthusiasm, commitment and work ethic,” said Build Pagosa board member and PSHS vocational trades program instructor Tor Hessman, who is a veteran builder himself with more than 30 years experience in the trade. “You can tell that this program is making a big difference in their lives. For many of my students, they now have a concrete direction and life purpose that they didn’t have before. It’s so inspiring and gratifying to see the transformation.”
Build Pagosa is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing volunteer opportunities for those in the building trades industry, local businesses and Pagosa Springs residents who want to support the educational, vocational, communication, economic and stabilization goals within the community. For more information about the group or ways you can be involved, head to