The following is from the Jan.25 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.
Art teacher and students honored
Thurston Middle School art teacher Linda Erickson, who was recently named "Outstanding Middle Level Visual Art Educator for 2010" by the California Art Education Assn., was honored by the school board and Thurston Principal Joanne Culverhouse.
Culverhouse thanked Erickson for her contributions to art education, as well as involving students in extracurricular art projects like Color it Orange, Imagination Celebration and the Water District rain barrel contest.
"I appreciate how supportive the district is of me helping kids realize how good they are in art," Erickson said, thanking the district. "And it's wonderful to work with kids like this that think outside the box and do a bang-out job."
Erickson's own artwork has been displayed locally at Laguna College of Art and Design.
Four of Erickson's students, who were winners of the "Roll Out the Rain Barrel Contest," which encouraged students express their creativity, were also honored.
Katelyn Kolberg of El Morro Elementary, Thurston's Colette Hammett and Summer Stanaland, and Laguna Beach High student Sabrina Johnson were given the opportunity to transfer a drawing they had submitted onto 55-gallon rain barrels, which can be seen at stores and landmarks citywide through the end of February.
Five Feet owner recognized
Assistant Supt. of Instructional Services Nancy Hubbell introduced Michael Kang, whose 25 years of support has made a profound contribution to the educational excellence of the district, she said.
Hubbell presented the board with a slideshow of pictures that illustrated the former restaurant owner's many contributions to Laguna's schools. Kang owned Five Feet, which closed last year.
Board President Theresa O'Hare, who has worked closely with Kang on many volunteer events, reiterated the impact he's made.
"Michael Kang exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism that has proved crucial to the success of Laguna Beach schools," O'Hare said. "In 1993, Michael Kang had a unique vision and determination to do something extraordinary for our schools and our town.
"Born out of the ashes of the Laguna fire, Michael and his business partner Joe Gelber conceived a fundraising event called Brighter Stars. What started as a spontaneous reaction to provide immediate help in a crisis, grew to become a sustaining source of support for our schools, and one of the most sought after party invitations in Laguna Beach."
Through more recent efforts made by the SchoolPower Endowment Board, the proceeds of Brighter Stars have accumulated in a fund worth more than $400,000 today, which continues to provide support for Laguna schools.
The annual grants from this fund began what has now become the annual Teacher Grant Program, which supports an array of innovative classroom initiatives, O'Hare said.