JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

Auction Raises $700, Gives Experience to Students

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

February 9 2004 -- About 65 buyers and sellers attended Jacksonville State University’s Gamecock Center on Sunday for the first-ever auction designed to “teach” the art of auctioneering. The new program is an offering of JSU’s Continuing Education Department.

Staff writer Sherry Kughn is a Jacksonville State University graduate student majoring in English. She works in the JSU News Bureau through the Graduate Assistantship program. She has 12 years news experience at The Anniston Star and served for five years as The Star’s executive secretary. Sherry can be reached at jsu7635k@student-mail.jsu.edu.

There was a lot more to it than I thought.

- Donnie Wells

“The students really did enjoy it,” said Jerry Gilbert, a local auctioneer. He was one of several teachers who worked with the 14 students, who ranged in age from the early 20s to the mid-60s. Two of the auctioneer students were women. “You could see the students come together and become a congenial, supportive group.”

The class took place over the course of about a week, starting on Jan. 30 and ending with Sunday’s auction. In addition to providing students a chance to show off their what-am-I-bid chants they also learned how to inventory and account for merchandise and money and how to be a “ringman,” or the person who holds up the merchandise.

One student, Donnie Wells, drove from Dothan to attend the 10-day school. “There was a lot more to it than I thought,” he said. “I appreciated our auctioneer instructors, taking their time to tell us their real life experiences.” Wells said he lost money because of time away from his job, but he feels the investment will pay off in the long run.

The proceeds of the auction went to four charities. About $700 was raised for the Gamecock Club, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, the JSU Continuing Education Foundation, and the University Scholarship Fund.

During the week leading up to the event students, teachers and employees brought items to the Gamecock Center. Toasters, wall hangings, mugs and a JSU helmet were among the items that lined the tables. Quick-talking student auctioneers cajoled the crowd into bidding higher, higher until the words, “Sold your way,” rang out. Among some of the more unusual items was a JSU “spirit can,” which was an antique milk can painted with red and white logos. Another was a window pane painted with island scenes on the glass.

The school costs $575 and was offered because of the demand for such a school in Northeast Alabama and surrounding states. The auction industry is growing, according to Continuing Education Director, Ann Wells. Continuing Ed’s Rita Smith was the program’s coordinator. JSU become accredited to teach the course in October.A graduation ceremony took place after the auction.

Graduates of the class studied all the various types of auctions, such as antiques and collectibles, automobiles, business liquidations, charity auctions, machinery and equipment, livestock, and real estate.

The class was unusual in that eleven teachers were brought in to teach the class – those who had specialties in auctions relating livestock, real estate, firearms, antiques, and collectibles. A business instructor taught students good business practices and a music instructor worked with students to help them perfect their breathing and voice quality while chanting.

The auctioneer class will be taught twice a year. The next offering will be in August. The Office of Continuing Education is located on the third floor of Curtiss Hall. For more information, call 782-5022 or Toll Free 1-800-634-7199.

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