When Kara Czaplewski, a first-grade teacher at Fairhaven Elementary in Mundelein, Illinois, listened to her phone messages the morning of February 1, 2008, she was in for a shock.
“I had just put Kyle (one week old at the time) down for a nap… I listened to the message and my heart skipped several beats. Then I started screaming [to my husband], “Neal, we just won a car or $20,000!”
“He didn’t believe me at first, so I let him listen to the message. Then I began dancing around the living room.”
Kara had entered the Caspar Creek Learning Community’s Prius raffle last July while she and her husband were visiting Mendocino as part of a two-week west coast vacation. The Illinois couple were exploring Mendocino when they stumbled on the Art Center fair and the Prius raffle booth. After acquiring a painting for their expected child’s room, she said, “We decided to buy raffle tickets because we saw it was for a school, and being a teacher, I like to support education and schools.
“We like to think Kyle is our lucky charm. I was pregnant when we bought the ticket, and my name was picked one week after he was born.”
Czaplewski joins the previous year’s Prius raffle winner, Fort Bragg resident John Fremont, who got his entry in front of Harvest Market.
Caspar Creek Learning Community (formerly the Mendocino Satellite School) is a non-classroom-based K-5 public charter school program of Mattole Valley Charter School serving Mendocino Coast families from Westport to Albion since 2000. All proceeds from the Prius raffle go to Caspar Creek’s booster fund to support its local educational programs and its learning center near Caspar, CA.
Now in its third run—launched June 12—the Prius raffle has become a mainstay of Caspar Creek’s fundraising, along with its twice-yearly low-cost dog and cat vaccination clinics, held each spring and fall at Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, CA.