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Not Just Another Bake Sale

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Like parent-teacher groups all over the country, the Parent-Teacher Organization at the private Boca Raton (Fla.) Academy holds an annual fund raiser for the school. But unlike most other such affairs, this pto fund raiser offers participants a chance to bid on half-million-dollar homes and to win a Porsche.

Recently, some 400 "friends and family" of the academy attended the fourth annual dinner-fund raiser to bid on hundreds of items donated by parents, retailers, and businesses, said Susie Tabor, president of the academy's p.t.o.

The big draw this year was a four-bedroom waterfront house appraised at $407,800, and donated by the father of two students. The proceeds would have gone to the school, said Ms. Tabor, but no one met the undisclosed minimum bid.

Disappointed bidders still had plenty of other enticing items to consider, including an Alaskan cruise and a trip to Rio de Janeiro. Less-pricey items included a basketball jersey autographed by the former star Wilt Chamberlain, a basketball autographed by the Los Angeles Lakers, dinners at area restaurants, jewelry, and several antiques.

More traditionally, parents could bid for the honor of having a corner of the school library named after their son or daughter for a year or on a chance to trade places with the principal for a day.

The auction was followed by a drawing in which purchasers of $100 tickets were eligible to win a 1990 Porsche 944 Cabriolet (or $35,000 in cash), two tickets to fly the Concorde to London plus $1,500 spending money (or $15,000 in cash), and tuition to the academy for one year (or $5,000 in cash).

The academy's p.t.o. devotes 10 months a year to putting together the extravagant evening, but it is time well spent. The event raised close to $95,000 this year, Ms. Tabor said, topping last year's $85,000.

The proceeds, she said, will be used for student scholarships, faculty endowments, and facility improvements.--jw

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