Frying up a fund-raiser

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 14, 2006

When was the last time you made more than $9,696 in two hours? If you’re like most people, you never have. But students, teachers and volunteers at Demopolis High School did just that yesterday afternoon.

No more than 15 minutes after the annual DHS Fish Fry began at 5 p.m., cars were lined up at the school’s entrance waiting to get a taste of the once-a-year event.

As drivers pulled into the loop in front of the school’s main entrance, they were mesmerized by the smell of fried catfish and freshly baked cakes and pies. Then their mouthwatering thoughts were interrupted by Mrs. Sandra Ransom’s voice beckoning them to keep driving forward.

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“I need two over here,” someone called out after taking a few yellow tickets from the car’s occupants.

“I need four here,” someone else yelled.

“I need 12 right here,” one hard worker screamed.

“Don’t take anymore tickets, we’re out,” a voice at the table yelled just as a DHS student rolled another cart stacked full of Styrofoam plates out of the school doors.

The burning hot sun proved not to be a problem for the group as they raised money for the Demopolis City Schools Foundation to distribute to teachers at the four schools in the system for educational grants.

By 5:45 p.m., the tables had been re-stacked approximately six times with mounds of $6 platters loaded with fried catfish, coleslaw, baked beans and hushpuppies, and the group still had another hour to go. But in half the time, sales had already surpassed last year’s count.

“Last year we sold about 1,000,” DHS teacher Amie Attaway said, “and we’ve just about doubled that already.”

“We sold about 1,616 tickets,” DHS teacher Carrie Parkins said, “and people are walking up to buy plates. We are prepared to sell about 1,800 if you round up.”

Both student council president Ashley Henderson and vice president Armisha Perry attribute the high sales to the large freshman class the school welcomed this past fall.

“We had more freshman this year so that helped us a lot,” Henderson said as they nodded in agreement.

“One freshman sold 80 tickets alone,” Perry added.

As seniors, both young ladies have donated their time to the fish fry in the past. And even though the sale always brings a large crowd of hungry residents, they were happy to set a new record before heading to the University of Alabama in Birmingham this fall.

“We’ve been doing it for four years,” Perry said, “so we’re motivated to do well.”

“This is our last year,” Henderson added, “and we’re trying to do everything we can before we leave.”