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Elly May coming to BA for big event

The Brookhaven Academy Spring Extravaganza will have a specialguest this year that just might make grown-up attendees feel likekids again.

This year’s guest of honor is Donna Douglas, better known asElly May Clampett of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

BA teacher Jennifer Whittier said the yearly event will beginaround 4 p.m. on Saturday, and will include a silent auction,inflatable games for the children, and a book sale where buyers canpurchase books and donate them in honor of a loved one. There willalso be a barbecue dinner and the elementary choir willperform.

“I think they’re going to do the theme from the BeverlyHillbillies as a tribute to Elly May,” Whittier said.

Whittier said she found Douglas in a very roundabout way.Douglas’ granddaughter, Darla Bourgeois, and Whittier’s daughter,Carly, are roommates in Starkville, where Whittier is a teacher inColumbus and Bourgeois is a graduate student at Mississippi StateUniversity.

Whittier was thrilled to find out that Bourgeois was Donna’sgranddaughter, and she and a friend came up with the idea of askingDouglas to the Spring Extravaganza.

“We appreciate her taking the time to do this for us, becauseshe doesn’t frequently do fundraisers,” said Whittier. “She hassuch a busy schedule because she witnesses and sings gospel music,and she travels all over the United States. This just happens to beone of the weekends she was free, and she gave it up to come toBrookhaven.”

Whittier said among Douglas’ duties at the extravaganza arejudging a womanless beauty pageant that will be held, as well ascrowning the winner. She will be available to sign autographs andtake pictures throughout the event.

B.A. Headmaster Miller Hammill said the Spring Extravaganzaraised in excess of $100,000 last year and the goal this year is$60,000.

“The extravaganza is our major fundraiser at B.A.,” he said.”It’s sponsored by our PTL (Parent-Teacher League), which is amajor organization on our campus that raises private money to helpus with educational supplies and many things we provide at theschool that we couldn’t otherwise.”

Hammill said the school is selling sponsorships for banners onthe football field and in the gymnasium, and that admission to theextravaganza will also be another revenue source. The silentauction will take place in the gymnasium, where Douglas will alsobe available to mingle with the public.

“We’re excited about her being here as a celebrity guest, and wethink that will be a big plus for us,” Hammill said.

Among silent and live auction items are a 4-wheeler and severalvacations that have been donated for the event.

Hammill said in addition to taking part in the auctions, hehopes extravaganza attendees will enjoy the food and games aswell.

“We really appreciate the efforts of our PTL and the support ofthe community,” he said.