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In previous years, the lines at the annual fund-raiser for Baumholder High School seniors would peter out as the night wore on.

That wasn’t the case this year. The queues held for much of the night, making Friday’s “Buc-Nite” the most successful in memory.

“At almost every stand, every game, there were huge lines,” said Katie Otterstedt, an 18-year-old Baumholder senior. “Usually it dies down halfway through, but there were lines all night.”

The event generates scholarship money for college-bound seniors, often the dependents of soldiers assigned to the 1st Armored Division’s 2nd Brigade, based in Baumholder. This year, with so many fathers deployed to Iraq, the fund-raiser drew added interest.

The six-hour event raised $21,300, which is the highest amount generated, certainly in recent years, said principal Dom Calabria.

“The community needed this,” Calabria said by phone Wednesday.

Calabria was referring to the recent decision to extend the division’s deployment by up to four months. The troops, many of whom have spent a year away, are now not expected to return until July or August.

During difficult times, Calabria said, “the school, for the most part, really becomes a focal point [of support] for the kids.”

Jill Cannizzo, 18, who ran the cotton candy stand with Otterstedt, said the total eclipsed last year’s amount by about $4,000.

“Since a lot of soldiers are deployed, people are looking for places to bring their kids,” said Cannizzo, daughter of Lt. Col. Paul Cannizzo, an Air Force liaison officer assigned to the brigade.

The money raised will go to seniors starting college in the fall. This year, 30 of the 37 seniors are matriculating. Depending on need and other factors, the amount each receives can vary, though every college-bound senior who applies receives some funds.

As they always do, the seniors took the lead in organizing “Buc-Nite,” a play on words that refers to the school’s nickname, the Buccaneers.

Roughly half the money raised came from games and booths, such as the cotton candy stand. An auction of donated items accounted for the rest. A few of the items, including a handmade quilt, went for more than $1,000.

Community organizations pitched in as well. In the case of Cannizzo and Otterstedt’s cotton candy stand, the Red Cross donated the machine in exchange for half the proceeds, which totaled about $500, Cannizzo said.

“At first, the cotton candy was turning out in weird shapes,” said Otterstedt, the daughter of Army Col. Charles Otterstedt, “but once we got the hang of it, it got a lot better.”


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