Bright minds pay it forward; `Dollars' benefits local scholarships.
MILLBURY - What do Marilyn Monroe, trivia questions, free cigars and college scholarships have to do with one another? All these random elements come into play at this year's annual Millbury Dollars for Scholars event March 24, with a common goal to raise funds.
But the money raised is anything but trivial. Last year the effort raked in $70,000 in college funding for students in town, said organizer Laine Parenteau. "We're taking in a ton of donations," she said, adding that Millbury is a close-knit town with a strong sense of community pride.
The trivia event, now in its seventh year, has been coordinated for the past two years by Ms. Parenteau and her mother, Dale Parenteau, of Millbury. Laine, a member of the Millbury High School class of 2001, received a few scholarships from Dollars for Scholars when she went off to college. Now a Dollars for Scholars board member along with her mother, Ms. Parenteau has seen firsthand how the money helps.
"I really believe in giving back," she said.
Over seven years, the event has grown in size and morphed into more of a family night out, with raffle prizes and fun for young and old, she said.
Ms. Parenteau, who does not have children in the district, served as a volunteer of the event for many years before she began coordinating it. She used to work at the high school, as well, and still substitutes there on occasion. Dollars for Scholars is a cause she is passionate about; she says she is amazed each year at how people give to this fund and the good it does.
"One-hundred percent of the money raised goes to the scholarships, and we also maintain them," she said.
The Parenteau mother-daughter duo makes notes throughout the year of places to approach for donations. In January, Laine sends out letters to area groups and businesses to donate goods, services or contributions for the trivia prizes and raffle offerings. Then, they go door to door, said Laine Parenteau. "We go around - we are very good talkers and we know everybody," she laughs.
There is also multitasking involved, Ms. Parenteau said. Her fiancee, Goeff Oehling of Worcester, is the bass player with cabaret group Niki Luparelli and the Gold Diggers. "While he's working, I'm working the room," she said. It was in this way that Cigar Masters of Millbury donated a box of cigars for a trivia night raffle prize, she said, by being in the audience.
Ms. Luparelli is also a Marilyn Monroe impersonator and has donated a singing telegram to the event. Ms. Parenteau said it can be delivered at the recipient's workplace.
Other raffle prizes include salon gift cards, handmade jewelry, and lots and lots of gift cards, she said.
Teams of four who are ready to answer questions on geography, pop culture, Millbury history and everything in between can make checks payable to Millbury Dollars for Scholars, P.O. Box 361, Millbury, MA 01527. Team members' names and contact information should be included.
The March 24 event is at Millbury High School at 7 p.m.
PHOTOG: T&G File Photo/RICK CINCLAIR
CUTLINE: Laine Parenteau and her mother, Dale Parenteau, have coordinated Dollars for Scholars the past two years.