Melissa Guillotte is 22 and a first-year teacher. She started teaching music at Grant Elementary School at the beginning of the school year. In August, she married Andrew Guillotte. In December, she graduated from MU. In February, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Next week, she will have surgery to remove the tumor.
This shocking and difficult news has brought together fellow teachers, students and their parents in a cooperative support effort. In two and a half weeks, a committee of parents planned “Dinner for a Song,” a dinner, silent auction and raffle to raise money to help Guillotte with her medical and living expenses.
As a first-year teacher, Guillotte has very few sick days, so she will not be able to receive a salary while she is hospitalized or going through treatment. All proceeds raised from “Dinner for a Song” will be donated to her. Dinner tickets are sold-out, but the public is still invited to participate in the raffle and auction.
“The community of Columbia, First Presbyterian Church, everybody at Grant School and the school district has been wonderful,” Guillotte said. “I wish I could send a ‘thank you’ card to everyone.”
Businesses, including Best Buy, Orscheln Farm and Home Supply, McAdam’s Jewelry, The Pasta Factory and McDonalds, donated food and drinks for the dinner, as well as items for the auction, said Sara Hill, a parent on the committee.
More than 50 items have been donated to the silent auction including an MP3 player, paintings, autographed sports memorabilia and a shopping trip to Chico’s, said Peggy Bunton, a secretary at Grant.
A computer system, donated by PC Avenue, will be raffled off at 7 p.m. tonight. The silent auction will close at the same time. Hill said community members should arrive between 6 and 7 p.m. to participate in the raffle or auction.