Students to showcase handiwork at Build Pagosa’s fourth annual auction


By Kim Elzinga | Build Pagosa

Students will take the spotlight at Build Pagosa’s fourth annual charity auction on Friday, May 6, at the Ross Aragon Community Center. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Career and Technical Education program at Pagosa Springs High School (PSHS).

“Every year we’ve hosted the auction, we’ve been so impressed by the students’ enthusiasm for this event,” commented Build Pagosa’s Board President Larry Ash. “Their participation has become one of the best things about the night. They really energize the crowd; they make it fun. The auction is their chance to bring the tangible results of their hard work in front of the community. It’s really all about them.”

Since its inception, Build Pagosa’s auction has involved more and more young people in the event. From making the items to be auctioned to volunteering at the auction itself, more than 100 high school students have participated. For many, it’s the first time they have experienced that kind of connection with the community as part of a fundraising event. 

“The upperclassmen who have been part of the auction before are really talking it up,” said Build Pagosa board member and PSHS vocational trades program instructor Tor Hessman. “An auction is chaos to begin with; it’s a huge spectacle. But for these kids, it’s not just a good time. They are learning how to be part of their community. They are simply amazed by the support from everyone and dumbfounded by the amount of money they can raise.”

This year’s main auction items include durable and attractive playhouses, constructed by students in the Building Trades program. All materials used in construction of the playhouses are generous donations from area businesses. 

Students in the woodworking and welding classes have also made items for auction. Students in the culinary arts program participate in making the food, while SkillsUSA students serve at the event. Live music features musicians from the school’s Americana student group. And, auction participants will be able to get their blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels checked, courtesy of PSHS students who are part of Health Occupations Students of America, whose mission is to empower future health professionals to become leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration and experience.

“I’ve seen what this auction can do for these young people,” said Hessman. “When something they’ve built becomes part of the bidding frenzy and they see how much people in this community support them, they gain an appreciation for what they’ve accomplished. Their sense of self worth soars. Now they have buy-in and they are truly part of the program. For me, watching how these kids respond makes all the hard work worth it.”

The doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the silent auction. Dinner with a Cinco de Mayo theme will be served at 6 p.m. Tickets ($30/adult) are available at the door. 

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