Culinary Arts student David Vogel prepares Spring Fling buffet table
Photo by Linda Faas

The key to a great “fundraiser” Is FUN.   The Mesquite Community Education Fund and Virgin Valley High School students certainly lived up to that idea as they welcomed guests to the 2018 Spring Fling “Cherry Blossom Time” on March 21.   Chef Chris Noone’s Culinary Arts students laid out a sumptuous buffet feast of teriyaki chicken, egg rolls, noodles, green beans with water chestnuts, and heavenly strawberry layer cake for a sell-out crowd of more than 150 guests.  Arriving diners were transported to an Asian fantasyland with tables decorated with colored lanterns, peonies, and individual placemats featuring brush-painted scenes.  A Japanese bridge festooned in flowers and lights cast a colorful glow on the evening.

Spring Fling Cherry Blossom Time played to a full house
Photo by Shelly Stoiber

The VVHS pep team led off the evening’s entertainment with a precision fan, parasol and ribbon dance routine that delighted the crowd.  Then, under the direction of Kendra Graf and Marie Palmer, student musicians presented flawless renditions of old favorites and Asian classic songs that carried the theme for the evening.  The choir, guitarists, band, and orchestra learned new numbers specially for the event.  Crowd reaction to the student performances was displayed through loud applause and abundant donations.  Raffle tickets sales donations to the MCEF fund boosted profits for the Spring Fling evening to $6000.

“We can’t forget to thank the many students who helped sell Spring Fling tickets,” reminds

MCEF president Darlene Nelson and Rafflemeister Justin Ludvigson
Photo by Linda Faas

Darlene Nelson, MCEF president.  “These young people gave up their Saturday mornings to help raise scholarship funds for their schoolmates.”  Tickets sales assistance was also provided by Danielle’s Chocolates, the Chamber of Commerce, and Mesquite Rec and Senior Centers.

Much of the credit for fundraising success goes to local business owners who so generously provided raffle prizes and support for the student benefit.  Bank of Nevada, a perennial donor to student causes, has shown exceptional support to MCEF’s scholarship efforts since the nonprofit was formed.  The bank has donated more than $2000 each year to the MCEF scholarship fund.  The Eureka Community Initiative has underwritten the high school culinary arts program, and gave MCEF the opportunity to earn big scholar dollars by staffing the Rising Star Field House during 2018 Nevada Desert Dogs home games.

MCEF sponsors the Spring Fling dinner concert to help VVHS graduating seniors who most need financial assistance to attend college or trade school.  MCEF also aims to showcase the many accomplishments of our local students to the general community.   The nonprofit group wants to help build bridges between the community and the young people who are the future of the town.

VVHS precision team led off Spring Fling entertainment
Photo by Linda Faas

Mesquite has a large base of residents who, as private individuals, are willing to help their students.   MCEF was formed as a 501c3 nonprofit as a means for community residents to donate toward scholarships through an independent, secure local fund that awards significant tuition scholarship to VVHS graduates.  Individual donations of any size are building blocks that

form scholarships that can make a dream of advanced education a reality.  In 2017, MCEF

awarded eight $1000 scholarships to VVHS graduates.  “We aim to double that amount for

our upcoming class of 2018,” says Nelson.  “An exceptional individual has written a check for

$3000 this year.  Combined with the dozens of $5 and $20 bills placed in our donation jars, we think we will be able to exceed that goal.”

The community scholarship drive does not end with the Spring Fling.  Donations may be made by check, payable to MCEF, and mailed c/o MCEF Treasurer Dan Wright, at Bank of Nevada, 11 W. Pioneer Blvd, Mesquite NV 89027.   To contact MCEF, please call Darlene Nelson

at 406-431-1181, or email