Mad about merlot?

Toast to Perry-Mansfield students

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Emily Stockdale could not have attended her first summer at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp without a scholarship.

"Being out at camp, I really found a passion for what I love to do," Stockdale said. "At my high school, there is not much appreciation for the performing arts, and I wasn't sure how I compared to other kids, but now it's clear what I have to do, and I love it."

Stockdale plans to major in musical theater in college and found that the supportive and encouraging atmosphere and faculty at Perry-Mansfield helped point her in that direction.

"I got a lot more confidence, and it really influenced my decision," she said.

Cody Poirot, who was in the same camp as Stockdale, attended the camp for a third time because of his scholarship.

"It really gets you motivated to go to Perry-Mansfield, and it really made me feel like that was what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life," Poirot said. "As a high school student, you are really expected to succeed."

Poirot's favorite part of the camp was being part of the rock opera "Tommy."

"It was incredible," he said. "I definitely learned a lot more about what my range is for singing and a lot more about how dedicated you have to be to be in a production like that."

The scholarships that Poirot and Stockdale received were made possible because of fundraisers such as Madness de Vine. Perry-Mansfield gave $65,000 in scholarships in 2006, nearly $70,000 in 2005 and $91,000 in 2004.

The evening of the Madness de Vine fundraiser begins with boarding the gondola at 6 p.m. Saturday to view the changing leaf colors of the trees on Mount Werner. Three courses will be served during the evening, which will be accompanied by live music by Paul Potyen.

The entrees are designed to compliment wines from Australia, South America, Oregon and Sonoma County. The selection of gourmet food is typically Janice Vierke's favorite part of the evening. Vierke is Perry-Mansfield's marketing director.

"It's also nice to go up the gondola at night this time of year," she said. "By the time of the event, the whole mountain can be golden. You can go out on the deck and enjoy the view and see the stars on your way back down."

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