Swampscott auction is about to set sale

Swampscott High School students Kaleigh Cantin, top left in the reflection, Kiely Quinn, and teacher Tom Reid showcased some of the items that will be auctioned off at the annual TV Auction this week.


SWAMPSCOTT — Now in its 18th year, the annual Swampscott TV Auction will give viewers a chance to bid on and win Boston Red Sox tickets, Boston Celtics tickets, a YMCA membership, and a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, when the live event airs from Tuesday to Thursday, 7 to 10 p.m.  

For the first time, SHS-TV has partnered with local nonprofit, For the Love of Swampscott (FLOS) and with Town of Swampscott TV to expand the event and create a town-wide focused production, organizers said in a letter to sponsors.

“We’ve (FLOS) always been big fans of the auction, so we jumped at the opportunity to partner with SHS-TV and help make the auction more town-wide,” said Joanna O’Neil, president of FLOS in an email. “We are looking forward to experimenting with the live segments throughout the auction — demos, performances etc. from local businesses. And the auction items that were donated this year are amazing. Aside from supporting Swampscott and SHS-TV, there are a ton of reason(s) for people to tune in.”

The auction was started by Tom Reid, who teaches television production and media literacy at Swampscott High School, and a group of his students in 1999. Before the partnership, the show was run by Reid and the students in his department. Last year, Joe Douillette came on board when he was hired as a new co-teacher in the department.

Comcast viewers can catch the auction on Channel 15, the Swampscott High School TV network. Homes with Verizon can tune into Channel 40. Comcast is only available to Swampscott viewers, but Verizon customers can also tune in from Lynn and Nahant. The show will also be on the web at

Viewers can bid by phone on items donated by individuals or businesses, Reid said. He said about 200 sponsors participate in the auction. Last year, the show raised nearly $14,000. In its first year, he said the total was about $450. With help from FLOS, he hopes to make even more this year.

The auction helps the cover the cost of the next year’s program budget for the production department, Douillette said. This year, he said, the proceeds from the auction will be split with FLOS, who are taking on the bulk of the fundraising, while the school’s TV department focuses on the most of the show’s production elements.

“It’s like a cumulative learning experience where they get to use all of the skills they’ve been using all year,” Reid said of the students.

Kiely Quinn, 18, a senior who helps produce the auction, said the event is about students feeling they can create something. Now in her fourth year with the show, she said the results are pretty obvious. With helping to produce it, she said she has learned organizational skills, and that the hands-on experience is like an apprenticeship.

“Everyone has a place,” Quinn said. “When we all work together as a team, we can make something great.”

Kaleigh Cantin, 17, a senior, who has been involved for three years, said the auction is like an introduction to running a business. She said she was big into theater and dance as a child, but after taking a media communications class in middle school, and trying that out at high school, she found it was more fun and intriguing to be behind the scenes.

Last minute donations are accepted until Thursday, and the best contact method is to email Reid at [email protected].

Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

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