Roncalli auction to be held in person and online

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | April 26, 2022

Proceeds help keep tuition affordable for families

Candice Giesen, director of development for Roncalli Catholic Schools, shows off some of the “Everything Roncalli” items up for bid in the 38th annual Roncalli Pierside Auction. registration is open now at (Roncalli Catholic Schools Photo | For The Compass)

MANITOWOC — The Roncalli Pierside Auction will return as an in-person event on Saturday, April 30, but the online component, utilized the last two years, will continue.

The auction, a fundraiser to support tuition for Roncalli Catholic Schools, is traditionally held the last Saturday in April at Roncalli High School, 2000 Mirro Drive in Manitowoc. In 2020, the event was moved to September due to COVID-19 and featured an online auction with a virtual evening event. The same format was offered in April of 2021.

The spring 2021 auction, which attracted more than 500 registered bidders for 400 items, raised more than $300,000.

“We were pleasantly surprised with how well the online auction was perceived,” said Candice Giesen, director of development. “We wanted to make sure that you aren’t on your phone at the event, so the online items are not the same (as the in-person auction items). It’s two separate events held at the same time.”

Bidding for the online auction is open and will close at noon on Wednesday, May 4. To access the online auction, visit

Auction items include sports memorabilia, experiences, services, décor, fashion finds, a faith and inspiration area, children’s offerings and more. One-of-a-kind school themed items are found in the “Everything Roncalli” area. The “Seasonal Palate” area includes recipes and ingredients. Dog owners can pick up a “Benson bow tie” for their pet in celebration of Roncalli’s service dog.

Vicki Verhasselt is the chair of the celebrations committee, a silent auction area with party pleasers and supplies, and gift items.

“In my area, I try to find items that are unique that people haven’t seen in a store,” said Verhasselt, an auction volunteer for the past three years and a Roncalli High School parent.

The fundraiser also includes three raffles, including a $10,000 top cash prize. Ariens Company and Van Horn Motors in Manitowoc sponsor the Gravely Riding Lawn Mower Raffle. MGW Law in Manitowoc sponsors the Green Bay Packers Mystery Jersey Raffle. Ten autographed mystery jerseys of Hall of Fame and/or Super Bowl champion players, including Brett Favre, are part of this year’s raffle. For raffle tickets, stop by the high school office, call (920) 686-8150 or visit

“We are fortunate to have a lot of great sponsors,” said Giesen. “Two of our main sponsors are Delta Defense in Manitowoc and Sheboygan Cancer Blood Specialists, Dr. Mark Bettag.”

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on April 30. The public is invited to Mass at 4 p.m. in the Zimmer Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center at the high school prior to the event. Fr. Mark Mleziva, vocation director for the Diocese of Green Bay, will be the celebrant. Those attending Mass will get an early look at auction items. Admission to the event is free. Food, including desserts and beverages, will be available for purchase.

“I do it because I love Roncalli. It’s done a lot for my kids,” said Verhasselt about volunteering for the auction. “I’m very passionate about the school and the event. It’s fun to come together to enjoy the evening with drinks and food. You might go home with a few items. It’s a great gathering of people. I’ve invited friends and family. They come back year after year.”

Funds raised help keep tuition affordable,” said Giesen. Roncalli tuition is $7,200 per student this year, but the cost to educate a child is approximately $15,000. Nearly 65% of Roncalli students receive some type of tuition support, she said.

Giesen added that Roncalli Schools draw from a wide area. In addition to Manitowoc County, students travel from Calumet, Sheboygan and Kewaunee counties. Roncalli Catholic Schools owns its own buses to provide transportation.

“As soon as we know where you live, we arrange for pickup,” said Giesen. “If you want your child to come here, we will make it happen.”

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