Foundation fares well at Taste of F.V. event

The turnout at the Taste of Fountain Valley on Saturday at The Center at Founder's Village Senior and Community Center is evidence of the community's commitment to technology education, organizers said.

The Fountain Valley Educational Foundation, which was established in 1982, hosts the annual event in hopes of gathering support for the 6,335-student school district.

This year's party sold a record 200 advance tickets — and more at the door.

"We well surpassed our ticket sales from last year," said Anne Silavs, assistant superintendent for the Fountain Valley School District. "We did change our venue, thanks to a partnership with the senior center, and we greatly appreciate them for being gracious with their staff and venue."

The event was catered by 12 restaurants and the Orange Coast Winery. The Fountain Valley High School Troubadours, a group of 24 select students, and a jazz band featuring volunteer teachers, provided the entertainment. There were raffles for American Apparel gifts cards, the chance to donate a Google Chromebook to a school and a chocolate diamond set donated by Mimi's Jewelry.

"We do host the event annually to support the school district, but this year we have adopted a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education to update the schools with proper 21st century technology," said Nicola Weiss, president of the Fountain Valley Educational Foundation.

All proceeds will go toward STEM-related programs. Final numbers were not yet available for last weekend's event, but the 2013 fundraiser brought in $14,000.

Though the main focus of the evening seemed to be technology-based, other educational disciplines were shown support as well.

"There are several displays that highlight the various programs the educational foundation supports — everything from arts to science and technology," Silavs said.

A computer showed a video of the middle-school marching band, which is 66 students strong, and a photo board featured pictures of the 123-member middle-school singers.

Mixed among the different displays was artwork from students, some as young as third grade. The work hangs in the district office for one year before being returned to the students to make way for another batch.

The final displays were science- and technology-oriented, including one about a Chevron solar energy project.

"Chevron donated their experts to our students and teachers to give science-related lectures," said Sarah Crandall, a member of the board of trustees. "And the technology board shows where we want to get to. Right now we have 14 students for every one computer; by summer it will be 6 to 1, a vast improvement."

Lynn Davis, a FVSD communications consultant, stressed that technology is becoming increasingly more important, noting that students have access to it at home but not always inside the classroom.

"We really need to modernize education," Davis said. "One thing everyone always says is, 'I didn't have that, and I turned out OK.' So when you change how school works, you really need the community on board."

Weiss said Saturday's event left her with high hopes.

"It is such a passionate crowd," she said.

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