Community: Group presents annual Denim and Diamonds Gala

Denim and Diamonds gala
Denim and Diamonds honorees, from left: David Black, Harry Hull, Yasmin K. Beers and Sev Ohanian with Glendale Educational Foundation President Lynn Miyamoto.
(Photo by Joyce Rudolph)

Guests donned their best western duds and headed West for the Glendale Educational Foundation’s annual Denim and Diamonds Gala at Calamigos Ranch at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

The evening’s theme was carried out fittingly with a barbecued ribs-and-chicken dinner and line dancing to the Fender Benders country-music band.

Funds raised at the gala go to programs that enrich and enhance the educational experience of students and staff in the Glendale Unified School District in the areas of visual and performing arts, health and fitness as well as science and technology. The current emphasis — “Imagine. Invent. Inspire.” — will provide robotics kits to all schools in the district to further the science-and-technology curriculum.

“We have raised $2.5 million to date,” said Lynn Miyamoto, foundation president. “Our goal is to raise $150,000 for the robotics program and tonight’s proceeds will go to that.”


Glendale Unified Supt. Richard Sheehan thanked supporters and announced that the $500,000 raised over the last three years during the foundation’s “Save the Music” initiative purchased instruments for the elementary-school music education programs.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of a $20,000 check to the foundation from the Glendale Education Foundation Summer School by board member Kevin Cordova.

Four alumni of Glendale high schools were bestowed special honors.

Harry Hull, a Hoover High School graduate, received the Paragon Diamond Award for entrepreneurial excellence. He has been a top Glendale real estate professional for 30 years, creating his own business — Hull Homes — and has served on the board of directors of the California Assn. of Realtors.


He provides community service through Glendale Kiwanis, Glendale Arts, Glendale Chamber of Commerce and was inducted into the Glendale College Athletic Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service.

Yasmin K. Beers, who also graduated from Hoover, was honored with the Premier Rose Diamond Award for philanthropic and distinguished service. She is assistant city manager for the city of Glendale.

She is chief operating officer of the city, overseeing about 1,500 employees and is responsible for city-wide budget oversight, employee relations, policy management as well as being administrative hearing officer for the city. She is past president of Soroptimist International of Glendale and volunteers with many other community organizations.

David Black, a graduate of Clark Magnet High School, was presented the Distinguished Achievement in Science and Technology Award. In 10th grade at Clark Magnet, he joined the FIRST Robotics Team 696, guiding the team to its first regional finalist trophy.

He continued to volunteer as a mentor to Clark Magnet’s robotics team while attending Cal Poly Pomona. After earning his bachelor’s degree and teaching credential, he became an instructor of engineering and technology at Clark Magnet. He has created a state-of-the-art Advanced Engineering and Manufacturing Lab and developed a new computer-aided manufacturing class at Clark Magnet.

Sev Ohanian, another Hoover grad, was honored for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts. He is a 27-year-old filmmaker who, at age 20, produced and self-distributed the independent film “My Big Fat Armenian Family.”

He was accepted into the USC School of Cinematic Arts Masters of Fine Arts program. He was co-producer on his first feature film “Fruitvale Station,” which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award before it was released in theaters.

He went on to produce six more feature films in two years. He also produced a Google spot shot entirely on its Google Glass titled “Seeds,” which went viral and received major press coverage. He was recognized by the Wrap magazine in its annual list of “11 Innovators of Changing Hollywood,” along with Angelina Jolie, Jimmy Fallon and others.


Lucky ladies winning diamond rings were Shannon Brown of Temecula, guest of Shannon Meyer of Corona; and Phyllis Ishisaka, executive assistant to the superintendent of schools. Her significant other, Greg Verbeck, picked the right champagne glass. Cheers all!

JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at