Sherry Walters was feeling a bit ornery, as she picked up the largest ceramic bowl she could find on the tables of bowls created by students in Blue Springs South High School art teacher Carlee Martin’s classes.

It was the fifth annual Bowls for Souls night at Blue Springs South, where patrons paid $10 for a student-made ceramic bowl, a bowl of chili, desert, a drink and a ticket to Friday night’s Blue Springs-Blue Springs South boys basketball game.

Walters, a longtime friend of South student senate sponsor Susan Bubalo, knew that the chili was being served in disposable bowls, but she wanted to see how the students would react if she brought the massive ceramic bowl and demanded it be filled to the brim with chili, as a giggling Bubalo watched from the sidelines.

“Uh, Mrs. Bubalo, what are we supposed to do?” asked a panicked Courtney Cook, who was serving traditional, chicken and vegetable chili along with classmates Matt Trout and Courtney Cook.

Bubalo told them they’d been pranked, and everyone shared a good laugh.

“We’re Blue Springs High School supporters,” Walters said, “but we have been to just about every Bowls for Souls dinner because it benefits people in Blue Springs and we get these amazing ceramic bowls.”

Last year’s event sold more than 250 bowls and raised more than $2,700, which was used to fund South’s food pantry, its student backpack program and a night of dinner and games with 27 families with students in the Blue Springs School District who live in a hotel on the outer road that runs parallel to Interstate 70.

“It’s one of the greatest nights of the year,” said Martin, who arrived early to help set up the ceramic bowls – which topped the 350 mark this year.

“Last year we raised over $2,700 with around 250 bowls, and this year we pre-sold 250 tickets and have 350 bowls – so, if people don’t stay away because of the weather, we should easily top last year’s total.”

“We pick the charities to sponsor after the event, but we will probably go with the same ones we worked with last year. We like to work with charities where we can help families by supplying food.”

One person responsible for the larger total of bowls this year is senior Meadow Noah, who created 52 bowls.

“I just like the process. It’s who I am and what I do,” said Noah, as she collected tickets and helped individuals and families select their bowls. “To me, taking a bowl out of the kiln is like opening your favorite package on Christmas morning.”

“It’s something I look forward to every year. And we’re all happy with the turnout tonight. It doesn’t look like the cold weather kept people from coming.”

Most of the tables in the commons area were filled with patrons, including Blue Springs High School grad and South volleyball coach Mallori Perry.

“This is just the greatest,” said Perry, as she selected her bowl. “This is the first time I’ve come as a member of the South staff and I can’t wait to start my bowl collection.”

The event is a collective effort between Martin, who came up with the idea five years ago, student senate representatives, DECA, South sophomore representatives, the Mudthowers (a group of art students who specialize in pottery) and even members of Ben Baier’s baseball team, who glazed many of the bowls.

“It’s a great, collective effort,” said Bubalo, who said Price Chopper donated $300 in gift cards used to buy 40 pounds of hamburger, eight rotisserie chickens and other chili staples.

“Carlee and her kids have done a great job, and we’re all so proud to be a part of it.”

Added Ashleigh Bertrand, the student senate co-sponsor, “Carlee thinks about everything and is already thinking about next year. It just gets bigger and better each year.”