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The Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation will hold a virtual telethon fundraiser 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, featuring live, local entertainers.

There will be many performances, including music, a comedian, an art demonstration, a cooking demonstration, a magic show, a fashion show and more.

It will also include Jefferson City School District talent such as the Capital City High School orchestra and choir, the Jefferson City High School marching band and the North Notables.

The JCPS Foundation usually holds an annual gala fundraiser with about 400 attendees. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation had to find a new way to hold a fundraiser this year.

"The COVID pandemic has forced just every single one of us to be creative and adapt to the new world that we have," JCPS Foundation Executive Director Ashley Varner said.

The event will include a live auction and a raffle, and bidding will end Sunday.

During the telethon, the foundation will induct individuals into the Hall of Leaders and recognize this year's Eisinger Teacher of the Year, Outstanding Educator and Karen M. Enloe award recipients.

The history of the foundation will also be spotlighted at the event. Steve Newman, who founded the JCPS Foundation in 1998, will talk about why he had the idea, and former JCPS Foundation executive director Karen Enloe and Board of Education Treasurer Ken Enloe will talk about the foundation's funding to the school district.

The telethon will also include videos of Capital City High School construction and Jefferson City High School renovations done by Nabholz Construction, which is the presenting sponsor for the event.

"With their generous gifts, we will be recognizing them as not only an outstanding donor but also sharing the good work that they did for our brand new high school and our renovations to our existing high school," Varner said.

Varner said her goal when choosing how to fill the time slots was to tell the foundation's story.

"We want people to know us, we want people to know we exist, and we want them to know the good work we do," Varner said.

The JCPS Foundation's mission is to enhance public education in the Jefferson City School District and "provide exceptional learning opportunities in the classroom for students and teachers," Varner said. All proceeds will go to the foundation to be used for grants, teachers, buildings and classrooms.

Most of the funds will go toward teacher and school grants. For example, the foundation gifted about $5,000 this spring to Thomas Jefferson Middle School for classroom libraries, it awarded Capital City High School's chorale and choir director with a condenser microphone, and it awarded a CCHS science teacher with a grant for DNA models. These grant recipients will be given the opportunity to speak at the telethon.

Varner said she has enjoyed planning this event and is excited to give local talent the opportunity to perform.

"It has been a wild ride, and I've loved every second of it because it has given me so much purpose," she said. "We've just had an amazing time planning this. We have so much content, great things that we can fill just from what we have here at the district."

The telethon will be livestreamed on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. To access the livestream, raffle and auction Saturday and to view the telethon schedule with a full list of performers, visit jcschoolstelethon.com.

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