MIDLOTHIAN — For those in attendance and students with plans to attend college, the Ninth annual Navarro College Brilliance Scholarship fundraising gala was a night to remember.

With a goal to exceed the record $154,000 raised last year, the organizers of the ninth annual event were very pleased with the success of this year — as the event raised over $170,000., which is a new record high.

“It was a great success that we made tonight. It has been a long year-long process to exceed this goal,” said organizer Millie Sibley during the event held Saturday evening at the Midlothian Conference Center.

The more than 270 guests were treated to the Casa Blanca and Moroccan-themed gala with cocktails and desserts “typical of the days” of the Casa Blanca clubs. Many of the board members and Navarro College students were dressed in period clothing for the Moroccan-themed party and assisted the guests. Martha Burks and her jazz band entertained the guest with several songs during the cocktail and dinner times.

“We had a great time support coming out to do our part to support the school. It is truly a privilege to come back here to entertain and support this important event for the school,” Burks said.

Carrying through with the Moroccan theme, The Dove’s Nest provided the meal, which consisted of Moroccan bread to go with a tomato chicken or Moroccan seasoned beef.

In his opening comments, Dr. Kenneth Martin said, “You will never know how many lives will be touched through your efforts tonight. Everyone needs an education of some kind beyond high school.”

Martin then introduced the dual credit students earning college credits while in high school. He went on to tell that last year there were 109 dual credit scholarships with another 40 general education scholarships awarded.

The guest speaker for the evening was Ennis ISD Superintendent Dr. John E. Chapman. Chapman continued the theme of the need for continuing education and the need for community support.

With the closing of the speakers, Angie Meier began the auction with her auctioneer’s lingo calling for the raising of bids for the many items, which ranged from shopping trips to dinners with Jim Pitts and Midlothian Fire Department. Other items auctioned included a chair provided by Texas Rep. John Wray and a getaway vacation.

When the auction began, the total raised was just under $100,000. However, by the end of the live auction, the estimated sum raised from raffle ticket and auction sales totaled just over $170,000.

During the live auction, Citizens National Bank President Mark Singleton told how his family started and has maintained the bank as a hometown owned bank.

“We are very proud of our heritage and being a part of this community. We at CNB realize the importance of education and we support continuing education,” Singleton stated. “So many kids are homegrown in Ellis County that go off to get that college education. Then they bring it back home to become a part of the community and support the next group of kids.”

Advisory board member Lynn Pike added, “We could not have achieved the success we did without the many sponsors and the people of Ellis County coming together supporting education. We have already started the long year-long planning needed to make it a bigger success. We are hoping to raise over $200,000 to go toward scholarships.”