The First Ever Virtual Xanadu Auction


Thomas Johnson, Editor

On April 17, Priory hosted its first ever virtual Xanadu auction. Cirque du Priory was the theme which seems fitting as Theresa Johnson, the 52nd Xanadu chair, says “this truly has been a circus of a year.” Usually, Xanadu is put on in the multi-purpose gym which is filled to the brim with people, but this year it was limited to the production company, Fogarty Services, and a few members of the Xanadu team. Going into the auction, members of the team were never expecting to receive the amount of money they normally would with an in-person auction. As Mrs. Johnson puts, “the spirit of community sells items,” and that was somewhat lacking without an in-person crowd. However, the vast Xanadu team tried to put on the best virtual auction the Priory community has ever seen. And they did just that.

Early in the process, Mrs. Johnson and the rest of her team were deliberating whether to try to have it in-person or have it virtually. Eventually, they landed on virtually and began the process of making the auction interesting and fun. That is where the hard work began. “This was a new format and it created a lot of new things to learn. Once we had narrowed down the production company to Fogarty Services, they even told us we needed to have most of our funds raised before the night of the actual auction,” Mrs. Johnson explained.

This Xanadu team did not have any handbook from years prior like many previous Xanadus had, so they had to improvise and come up with interesting ways to sell items, including having Kevin Kline as a guest star. Mrs. Johnson was ready and excited for this challenge as, “The virtual format gave us new ways to put our students front and center and reach a much broader audience.” The team reached out to many students and received videos from them explaining their favorite things about Priory. This Xanadu marked the first time students were the emcees for the night, along with Mr. Nickolai. The best gimmick the Xanadu team used was most definitely the “Flat Abbot” which was a picture of Abbot Gregory put onto a piece of cardboard. They sold for $100 a piece and purchasers were asked to send photos with their “Flat Abott” from around the country. These photos showed the wild adventures Abbot Gregory went through, from shopping at Straub’s to going out to Santa Clara University.

Xanadu, in a virtual format, allowed alums from around the country to donate to the school. Mr. Nickolai even mentioned that a couple of his friends from all over the country heckled and berated him throughout the night. Mrs. Johnson hopes to “incorporate some of the virtual aspects into an in-person auction, but the community aspect that an in-person auction allows is insurmountable and must be brought back when times are back to normal.”

Finally, Mrs. Johnson would like to thank the extraordinary people who worked with her throughout the process and the Priory community for their support. Laus Tibi Domine!