"Fivefivefivefivefivefive?" yelled Neal Faye, a big gregarious Belmont Lions Club member who does not need a microphone to be heard.
"Six! Sixsixsixsixsix?" Faye counted out, who for the fourth year has taken onto himself the role of encourager, enabler and enthusiastic auctioneer at the 13th annual Foundation for Belmont Education spring fundraiser and auction.
Up goes the program book from across the room.
"Six! Yah! $3,600! You," said Faye – who appropriately enough was wearing a tie with dollar bills as a design – before going back to the previous bidder and pointing, "Sevensevenseven?"
The 400 guests who attended the sold-out event in the athletic complex at the Belmont Hill School were not disappointed with the gala – a dinner from Vicki Lee's, cocktails, dancing, socializing and a thrilling auction and raffle – or the items being auctioned this past Saturday night.
And the audience did not disappoint the non-profit organization that for past two decades have been supplementing education funding for Belmont schools as residents and FBE supporters pledged more than $55,000 to the schools Saturday.
Items such as four tickets to a Red Sox/Yankees game and another game in July went for 10 times their values while a dinner party for 15 catered by Vicki Lee's Bakeshop of Cushing Square and Norm Fine brought in $6,200.
Foundation Chairwoman Lynne Doblin noted that it has been a banner year for the group; it passed the $2 million in grants to date and will process $200,000 in grants for such projects as mock archaeological dig, authors and artists-in- residence and other education-based projects.
But the greatest accomplishment so far, said Doblin, is the completion of the T3 SMARTboard campaign where today the 103 boards funded by the FBE along with 71 additional boards bought by PTAs, private donations and the Wellington Building project means that a child entering the second grade will likely be taught by a teacher using a SMARTboard all the way through graduation.
"I'm proud to say the the (Foundation) is ... enhancing what is in your child's classroom and advancing what will be," said Doblin.
"That's what tonight is all about."