Luck of the draw: Gray Stone Casino Knight raises $20,000

Published 12:04 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

SALISBURY — Cowboys and cowgirls tried their luck at a Gray Stone Day School fundraiser on Saturday.

According to the school’s chief administrative officer, Helen Nance, the event was a huge success. It raised more than $20,000 for the school to use on beautification projects and outdoor enhancement around the Stanly County campus.

More than 100 people packed the F&M Trolley Barn for a Western-themed casino event, where they shot craps, played blackjack, took turns on the roulette wheel and tried their hand at poker.

“I heard from several people who attended how wonderful it was and how much they enjoyed the event,” Nance said.

The event provides a way for the parents of a geographically diverse student body to get acquainted.

“Casino Knight gives people the opportunity to talk to each other,” Nance said. “Gray Stone is a regional school. Our students come from seven different counties, so we jump at any chance for our parents to meet and mingle.”

The last time that Gray Stone had a Casino Knight was on March 14, 2020, right before the onset of the COVID pandemic. That event raised $10,000, so the take from Saturday doubled that amount.

Gray Stone Day School also holds an auction every other year. It’s a big fundraiser but lacks the socializing element of the casino event.

Ashley Burleson is a co-chair of the Gray Stone Education Foundation. She and Mandy Emerson helped organize the casino event.

“Ashley and Mandy, who led this project, were wonderful,” Nance said. “They were very organized and just did a great job all around.”

Burleson indicated that the casino event group that worked the room was helpful for the less-than-experienced gamblers in the room.

“The dealers make everyone comfortable, even those who don’t understand the rules of the games,” Burleson said. “They were interactive and engaging.”

While no cash prizes were up for grabs, several awards were donated, and there were two grand prizes.

“The most coveted was the prize you can’t put a price on,” Burleson said. “That is getting to skip the car rider line.”

The other big prize was a $1,000 travel voucher.

“One of our committee members is a travel agent, so you can use the voucher however you see fit,” Burleson said.

Burleson has two kids currently enrolled at Gray Stone and one who recently graduated. She stands by the school’s college preparatory coursework and is happy to be able to lend her time to help advance the school’s mission.

Gray Stone is a public charter school and is, therefore, free to attend, so fundraising events, like Casino Knight, significantly aid its mission to send students to college equipped with the toolkits they need.