On the Town: ‘Disco & Diamonds’  gala shines bright as fundraiser for school district

Awarded with the Glendale Educational Foundation's Paragon Diamond Award is Louie Sadd, founder and CEO of Datastream IT. His wife Tamar and 11-month-old Jack join him.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

“One, two, three. Eyes on me,” announced Eric Hamilton, president of the Glendale Educational Foundation, to quiet the boisterous crowd — just like many Glendale school teachers do to capture the attention of their students.

This past Friday, more than 300 supporters wearing various versions of 1970s disco duds were anything but children. They were adults with money to give to the foundation for the benefit of local students.

The 12th annual “Disco & Diamonds” gala dinner and dance at the Castaway restaurant in Burbank gave them plenty of chances to do that.

Hamilton, in a passion-pink nylon disco shirt, said that since 2005, $3.3 million has been raised for, among other purchases, buses, musical instruments and lab equipment for Glendale Unified students. But he added that funds are needed.

Dr. Armina Gharpetian, Glendale Unified School District Board of Education clerk, strikes a disco pose with husband and City Councilmember Vartan Gharpetian.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Four Glendale school alums were recognized for their support of Glendale students.

Honored for distinguished achievement in health and fitness was Dwight Stones, achievement in distinguished service went to Gene “Chip” Stone, honored for entrepreneurial excellence was Louie Sadd and the award for early career achievement was given to Angela M. Sanchez.

The awards were presented by Robert Gordon, a member of the organization’s board of directors.

In a happy quirk of fate, Gene Stone’s daughter, Sarah Wedel, won one of two diamond rings offered in the evening’s opportunity drawings.

The lucky ticket was drawn by mistress of ceremonies, Jill Simonian. Wedel’s husband, Collin, had purchased three tickets for $100, in hopes of winning the ring, glowing with black, pave diamonds.

Cleverly picking up on the disco dress theme was Greg Krikorian, president of the Glendale Unified school board. He wore round blue sunglasses and a pork-pie hat. Armina Gharpetian, school board clerk, donned a gold, sequined blouse, jeans and giant, hoop earrings.

Her husband, Glendale City Councilman Vartan Gharpetian, was dressed in a more conservative jacket and jeans. Rounding out the rest of the school board were Jennifer Freemon, vice president, and members Shant Sahakian and Nayiri Nahabedian.

Disco King Greg Krikorian, District Board of Education President, and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman are standouts at the Glendale Educational Foundation's Disco & Diamonds Gala.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Best costume went to Kelly King, interim superintendent of Glendale Unified. She exuberantly modeled a large cardboard circle covered in silver tape and hanging from her neck. Asked what her look represented, she replied “A disco ball, of course.”

She came close to matching the disco ball centerpieces at each table. The disco balls could be purchased for a mere $20 each.

Important men and women around town attending were state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan as well as City Council members Gharpetian, Vrej Agajarian, Paula Devine and Ara Najarian.

Also putting in welcome appearances were Glendale City Manager Yasmin Beers and Police Chief Carl Povilaitis, who is on the Glendale Educational Foundation’s board of directors.

Representing Glendale Community College’s board of trustees was Yvette Davis, also on the foundation’s board of directors.

Interium Superintendent Dr. Kelly King shines like a disco ball at Disco & Diamonds presented by the Glendale Educational Foundation.
(Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

A live auction and dancing to the tunes spun by DJ David Newton ended the evening.

Kudos must be handed to Elsa Chagolla, the foundation’s executive director, and Vrejh Hovsepian, event chair. Their hard work behind the scenes helped make “Disco & Diamonds” a night to remember.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at