Casino Night: “Royale” with cheese


Mariah Howland

Gamblers play cards


Tuxedo-clad gentlemen and cocktail-dressed ladies filled out rows of gaming tables on Mar. 15, ready to dance with Lady Luck. As the old saying goes, “Never bet against the house,” but in this case the big winner was a local charity.

Once again, Johnson State College hosted its annual Casino Night, ready to help raise money for the United Way of Lamoille County. The theme chosen by the Student Government Association this year was a take on James Bond’s iconic Casino Royale as Stearns dining hall was transformed into a haven for high-rollers out on the town.

Sharply dressed men complemented elegant women, as professional looking dealers waited at darkly lit gaming tables.

Despite the winter weather, the intended theme brought in a well-sized crowd of students, who seemed to embrace the idea by arriving in full costume. Faculty and staff from the college enjoyed dual roles, volunteering as dealers and gambling as players.

Director of Public Safety Mike Palagonia got in on the action as a card dealer, running one of the blackjack tables.

News and Citizen Reporter Mickey Smith also donated his time by running a table at Casino Night, and was clearly recognizable wearing two hats stacked, one on top of the other, as he ran the craps table.

Smith, who has a longstanding relationship with the United Way of Lamoille County, currently serving on its board of directors alongside Johnson State College’s own Bethany Harrington, has been participating in Casino Night for many years.

“It’s been great. At some point in the night, we are always going to end up in a spot where all of the tables are filled and going,” Smith said early in the night. Not long afterwards his prediction was realized.

“We really appreciate all of the efforts by the SGA and anybody up at the college who helps put this together. It’s a really fun event,” said Dawn Archbold, executive director of the United Way of Lamoille County. “It’s really nice to get younger people involved with supporting programs in our community.”

According to Archbold, the proceeds from the event have been increasing annually. “It gets better and better every year,” she said.

Break Away New Orleans representative Kailie Gulino presided over an Italian soda refreshments stand, raising money for the student clubs at the college.

Sodexo, JSC’s food service provider, handled the rest of the refreshments and snacks for the evening, and provided staff members to run the bar.

The night’s final tally was not available at presstime.