Residents reached deep into their pockets and helped Project Graduation raise more than $62,000 this year, a big increase over last year when the depressed economy dampened donations.

The Senior Quilt, the most sentimental item in the live auction, sold for more than $4,000. This year's quilt had pictures of all seniors and the embroidered names of major organizations.

Jeff Harris, chairman of the board of New Focus of Somervell County, which puts on Project Graduation, said preliminary figures from Monday's night event show that more than $17,000 was sold at the silent auction, which featured more than 700 items, and more than $42,000 at the live auction, which offered more than 100 items.

The silent auction included everything from blooming plants to home décor items, cakes and pies, gift baskets, power tools, gift certificates, fishing poles and even a custom karaoke party.

Items for the live auction included outdoor grills and fire pits, furniture, a fishing trip, a night at a Padre Island condo, an autographed picture by the Dallas Cowboys' former star Tony Dorsett and even a bass fishing boat.

Pre-sold tickets to the spaghetti dinner brought the total raised to more than $62,000.

However, after counting tickets sold at the door for the dinner and the remaining silent auction sales are tallied, Harris said the final total likely will be about $65,000.

“It's a testament to this community that we live in,” Harris said. “The people here support the kids so wonderfully and do much for our kiddos. It's one of the reasons we we all live here.”

Every dollar raised from Project Graduation will go to putting on the annual post-graduation party for seniors, Harris said.

“We're just ecstatic at the community response,” Harris said. “They'll have one heck of a party.”

Dwayne Griffin, Patty Snodgrass and Becky Curtis also serve on the New Focus board and worked untold hours to make Project Graduation such a success.