NEWBURYPORT – The Newburyport Education Foundation’s Lighthouse Auction has long been one of my favorite events.

Before I became the executive director, I volunteered at it and looked forward to a fun night out, seeing the creative items up for bid. Every year, I think it can’t possibly be topped, yet it continues to amaze and most importantly, bring in a lot of money for our schools.

The 2019 Lighthouse Auction, again presented by the Institution for Savings, is doing just that, with some of the most exciting and unique items the auction has ever seen.

In its 12th year, the auction is our flagship event, historically raising more than $100,000. Co-Chairs Colleen Guillou and Andrea Weetman, back at the helm for a second year, have appropriately themed this year’s auction, “Sail into Excellence.”

With these two steering the ship, the crew they have assembled and the cargo they have secured, it is destined for success.

“We learned a lot from co-chairing in 2018 and have used those insights to make 2019 an even better event that raises even more money to benefit our schools,” Colleen said.

Andrea continued, “It is important to me to make a difference in the educational opportunities for all children in Newburyport. Working with our incredible auction team was such a great experience – you really see the best of our community.”

Returning auctioneers Jay Iannini and Tim Fountain will entertain the crowd with their antics and genuine love for the schools. Newburyport High School sophomore Ella Suchecki will captivate attendees with her soulful voice that reveals a maturity beyond her years. We are also fortunate to have Michael’s Harborside back to delight palates with their delicious, hearty passed hors d’oeuvres. 

Longtime NEF supporters Matt and Karyn Khatib, owners of M.K. Benatti Jewelers, have again generously offered an exceptional raffle. The prizes are three shopping sprees for $3,500, $1,000, and $500. Tickets are $20 or three for $50, and the winner will be drawn live at the auction, although you need not be present to win.

Local businesses have stepped up with remarkable experiences. Notably, the Firehouse Center for the Arts has donated a party during a waterfront summer movie for 20 people on their upper deck. Motivate Barre.Cardio.Nutrition donated a one-year membership and too many businesses to list have contributed. Ohana Kitchen donated on their first day of business, embodying generosity and community engagement. To all of these companies, we are humbled to be the benefactors of your generosity.

School administrators and teachers are donating their time and amazing items. Principal Kristina Davis partnered with Oregano to make pizza with two students, while NHS Principal Andy Wulf donated four reserved seats for 2020 graduation and a parking spot.

Mrs. Olson’s class created a Newburyport sign, each letter formed from drawings of the sun on the ocean. Mrs. Ahearn’s first-grade class is working on Newburyport Clipper-opoly, where players can purchase their favorite local properties such as Lexie’s or Maudslay. 

Live auction items include an autographed Tom Brady jersey in a gorgeous custom frame donated by Newburyport Framers. Have a reason to celebrate? Win Newburyport Brewing Company’s party for 50 and head to the taproom to enjoy a selection of craft beers. 

Equally as impressive are those sharing their talents. Scott Buchmayr created a custom spinning rod, hand-wrapped in custom Newburyport colors, matched with a Penn Slammer 4500 reel. NHS student Matthew Reeves created a beautiful, hand-turned walnut bowl. Artist Anne Recchia has donated one of my favorite items — a custom watercolor painting of your home.

So many businesses sponsor the auction, many without having to be asked. The Institution for Savings has been behind us year after year as our presenting sponsor and the event’s success is due in large part to their generosity.

Other committed sponsors include Matter, Tomlinson & Hatch, Appleton Eye Associates, William Raveis Newburyport, Newburyport Dental Associates, Anchor Realty Group, Liberty Law, Johnson O’Connor Feron & Carucci LLP, Iron Tree, Colden & Seymour Ear Nose Throat & Allergy, Christopher Masiello–Mortgage Banker, Children’s Health Care, Purpose Built Software, Riverside Pediatrics, Helium Design and Kelly’s Taylor Rental.

The Lighthouse Auction is Saturday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Nicholson Hall. Tickets are on sale at and are $50 in advance, $55 at the door. We have an exciting $100 VIP ticket option this year that includes three drink tickets, a free Uber voucher to get you to/from the event (Newburyport only), and a VIP Swag Bag. In addition, anything you win will be delivered to your home.

If you cannot attend, you can sign up for mobile bidding, which begins Saturday, Nov. 2. Go to, click the auction banner, and select “click here to sign up for mobile bidding or to buy tickets.”

The Newburyport Education Foundation (NEF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to generate financial resources and community involvement to enhance education in Newburyport Public Schools. For more information about sponsorship, volunteer opportunities or about the work we do, visit


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