Dinner to raise money for school

Ensign Middle School will hold a fundraiser Sunday in hopes of raising money to offset Newport-Mesa Unified School District cuts, which led to a reduction in the counseling staff.

The goal is to raise about $110,000, significiantly more than the school's usual annual effort.

Allison Olmstead, who's marketing the event for the school, said the dinner and silent auction will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Hall on the Balboa Peninsula at 215 E. 15 St., Newport Beach.

Tickets to the "Mix and Mingle by the Sea" are $35 and include an "island-inspired" buffet.

"Middle school is such a quick two years," said Principal Steve McLaughlin. "And we are excited for this new event as a way to bring together our families from our five feeder elementary schools."

Those schools include Newport Heights, Newport, Whittier, Kaiser and Mariners elementary schools.

Normally, the Ensign Fund raises roughly $60,000, but this year it is trying to double the donations to help out with the shortage of counseling while also putting the money toward new programs that would create a smaller learning environment, Olmstead said.

The event's co chair, Amy Manser, said she's really excited about the night, which is going to be casual and fun – and where parents of the seventh- and eighth-graders can get together to "enjoy great music and food while helping the school raise funds to support great programs at Ensign."

A silent auction of a pair of cleats signed by NFL linebacker Clay Mathews. Tickets to the Ducks games will also be auctioned off along with a vacation package at La Quinta Resort, among other great gifts.

Tickets can be purchased by going to http://www.ensign.schoollooop.com Tickets are also available at the school, located at 2000 Cliff Drive, Newport Beach, 92663.

— Tom Ragan

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