Community: Roosevelt boosters raise funds to modernize auditorium

Parents, administrators and teachers at Roosevelt Elementary have rolled up their sleeves in preparation for a serious year of fundraising.

The school’s booster club met earlier this month for a launch party at the DeBell Clubhouse Grill. About 50 people indulged in hors d'oeuvres while chatting and bidding on silent auction items.

The boosters have set a lofty goal to modernize Roosevelt’s auditorium. Linda Walmsley, teacher liaison, said the “300 for 300” project offers the public a chance to donate $300 that will go to renovate the 300-seat auditorium, which has not been updated since the school was built in the early 1920s.

Walmsley said the boosters are already approaching $3,500 in donations.

Another fundraiser they are working on is the Family Giving Campaign, said Booster President Ana Connell, where the boosters ask parents to donate funds either in a lump sum or monthly. Also underway is the fundraiser, with a portion of proceeds from online sales going to Roosevelt.

In September, the boosters will begin the monthly donor dining nights at restaurants throughout the city. On the first Wednesday of the month, the school receives a portion of the funds from orders at Domino's Pizza. In January, the school will benefit from the Islands dine-out night.

Last year, the boosters raised $109,000. The organization covers the costs of school supplies for academic and arts programs and pays the salaries for the computer technologist, playground leader and music teachers for the school’s violin program, which provides weekly instruction for first- and second-graders.

Instilling a little levity before the brief meeting was radio personality Tim Conway Jr., whose children attend the school. On a serious note, he touted that the camaraderie built between the parents filters down to the students, making a congenial school environment for everyone.

Teacher named Woman of the Year

Luther Burbank Middle School teacher Rebecca Mieliwocki, the 2012 National Teacher of the Year, has been named the 2013 Woman of the Year by the Zonta Club of Burbank Area.

She has taught English in the Burbank Unified School District for 16 years.

“She has touched and improved so many lives and is a strong role model for aspiring women leaders, said Zonta President Grace Farenbaugh.

Mieliwocki will be recognized during a luncheon beginning at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 2 at the Castaway Restaurant. Tickets are $50. For reservations, call Farenbaugh at (818) 398-7170. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Joslyn auditorium renamed for couple

The auditorium at Joslyn Adult Center was renamed in honor of the late Frank and Libby Nardo earlier this month.

The husband and wife super couple were remembered by their children, civic leaders and some 60 friends and neighbors for providing a lifetime of kindness to others, especially at the senior center and at St. Finbar Church.

Taking part in the dedication ceremony were Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy and Terre Hirsch, chairman of the Park, Recreation and Community Services Board. Several Nardo family members were in attendance, including their son, Christopher, who gave an eloquent speech. Their daughter, Angela, was also at the ceremony.

Libby Nardo's accomplishments included giving time to Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Burbank Nutrition Program, Keystone Club and in the Burbank schools, where for 30 years she was a teacher's aide and read to the students. She received the Burbank Older American Volunteer Service Award in 1992.

She and her husband were honored together as the Outstanding Older Americans of Los Angeles County, representing the city of Burbank, in 1993. In 2009, Libby Nardo was named a Woman of the Year by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).

Libby passed away in August 2012. The auditorium was originally dedicated to Frank in 1999 after he passed away that same year.

“But because Frank and Libby were a team and gave so much to our community, it's very fitting that we include her name with her husband's to honor their collective contributions to Burbank,” Mayor Gabel-Luddy said.

Having both their names on the plaque is appropriate, son Christopher Nardo said, because his father always attributed his success to having his wife by his side. In their retirement, they couldn't stay still and volunteered with organizations and projects too many to list, he said. 

Frank Nardo did it not for the glory, but to see that things got done.

Film director will entertain guild

Providence St. Joseph Medical Center Guild will be entertained by film director J.D. Mata during its meeting on Sept. 11.

Also a cinematographer, Mata’s latest work is “Orson’s Last Dance” about a young man with Down syndrome who makes a film to be entered in the Sundance Film Festival.

Mata is a musician, piano player and singer. He is also in the Spanish choir at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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