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SchoolPower's Community Campaign raises $510,000

SchoolPower's annual Community Campaign phone-a-thon made more than $510,000, a record for the foundation, with 612 donors and 64 parent volunteers manning the phones, according to a news release.

SchoolPower hosts the Community Campaign, its largest fundraiser, every fall and depends on parent volunteers to call upon every family in Laguna Beach schools for donations in support of public education. The fundraiser, led by campaign vice president Carol Normandin for the sixth time, saw an increase in the number of callers, donors and first-time contributors.

Big donations came from the Martini Family, who not only said they were match all donations brought in on the fifth calling night, but also said pledged to double those coming from first-time donors. Their initial project donation was $25,000, but that grew to $64,654.

"My dad always told me, 'If you can turn a dollar into two by something you do, that is always a win-win,'" Brent Martini said in a statement. "It's so satisfying to see these dollars deployed immediately in our kids' classrooms because the principals support cutting-edge ideas and the teachers are extremely enthusiastic to put committed resources right to work. The more we do as a community to support public schools, the more outstanding the educational experience will be for our kids."

Other key matching funds came from longtime supporters Holly and David Wilson, who donated $25,000, and from a group of past and current SchoolPower trustees and Endowment Board members who collectively contributed $45,200.

Funds generated by SchoolPower's Community Campaign support educational enhancements at all four Laguna schools such as maintaining smaller class sizes, elementary school music and foreign language, Thurston Middle School's and Laguna Beach High School's performing arts and the high school's athletics.

For more information or to make a donation, go to lbschoolpower.org.


Boys & Girls Club hosting Latino literacy program

A Latino Literacy Family Program will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. starting Feb. 27 at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, according to a news release. The 12-week program will take place at that time every Wednesday.

Laguna Beach Unified School District community liaison Javier Diaz is coordinating the programs, which are meant to help develop vocabulary for Latino parents and their children as well as create reading routines.

"Literacy is a crucial skill necessary for all students to succeed academically," Diaz said in a statement. "This program will provide bilingual techniques parents can use at home to develop their children's literacy skills and enhance academic achievement."

For more information, email Diaz at jdiaz@lbusd.org or call him at (949) 394-6076.


Rotary Club announces student of the month

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach honored Morgan Lebby as the Laguna Beach High School's Student of the Month for February, according to a news release.

Morgan is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a National Merit Scholar Semi-Finalist, and has won awards in boy's tennis and cross country. He also plays saxophone in the Jazz Ensemble and is the drum major for the school's marching band.

Following graduation, he plans to attend Caltech, majoring in chemical engineering or chemistry. Morgan was honored with a certificate of recognition and will receive a scholarship at the Honors Convocation, which takes place at the end of the school year.


Girls basketball open for registration

Registration is now open for Girls Spring Basketball at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach-Main Branch, according to a news release. Cost is $100 per player and includes a new team uniform, picture package and trophy. Scholarships are also available for qualifying families, the release said. Mandatory player evaluations will be held the week of March 4 to 8.

The league is open to girls in kindergarten through ninth grade. The club also seeks annual sponsors for the program.

For more information or to become a member, call (949) 494-2535 or go to http://www.bgclagunabeach.org.


Rickie Scott honored with DAR award

Laguna Beach High School senior Rickie Scott was given with the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award, according to a news release.

She will be honored by DAR in the Patriot's Day Parade March 2.

"Rickie is one of those once-in-a-lifetime people who comes into your life and leaves a lasting impressing on your heart," high school counselor Angela Pilon said in a statement. "When I first arrived at the high school [September 2011] and began getting to know the students assigned to me, I asked each of them what they were involved in. I kept hearing about Club R.O.C., the Friendship Shelter and the name Rickie Scott."

Rickie is president of Club R.O.C. (Righteousness on Campus), one most active and largest clubs at the high school.

"Club R.O.C.'s main service activity is to help serve dinner to the homeless at the Friendship Shelter the second Thursday of every month," Rickie said in a statement. "I've been going there to help out since I was 11. At first I was nervous and didn't know what to expect, but once I started going back regularly, it was so rewarding. I find it helpful to have that perspective — to understand how other people live while nearby we have wealth and many possessions."

The past two years, Rickie has traveled to Nicaragua to deliver basic necessities, translate and help with programs for children in areas where English speakers are rarely found. She also went to Belize, where she helped with building an orphanage, the release said.


PTA Coffee Break receives $2,000 grant

The high school's PTA Coffee Break Committee, which is entering its 18th year, received a $2,000 from the Laguna Beach Community Foundation.

The committee, which hosts expert speakers on a range of topics regarding children, was thankful for the support. It has to more speaker events scheduled: On March 20, Dr. Judy Willis, a neurologist, educator and author, will speak on how parents and educators can promote the development of higher-level skills to prepare our children to respond to the challenges of the 21st century; and on May 15 Dr. Wendy Mogel, a psychologist and parenting specialist and author of "Blessings of a Skinned Knee," and "Blessings of a B Minus," will talk about raising resilient children.

— Alisha Gomez

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