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The Valley Line: Mazins feted at LCUSD gala; LC Juniors hold a ‘Mamma Mia’ party

The anticipation of a gala evening “Under the Big Top” drew 660 guests to the 28th annual La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation’s annual spring gala last Saturday night. The event was held at the Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles and benefited the La Cañada public school system.

A fun photo-op was staged where guests could have their photos taken in front of a circus-like red curtain and papier-mâché elephant tossing a colorful ball with its trunk.

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During the reception hour guests shopped the silent auction tables filled with more than 600 enticing items ranging from jewelry, sports packages, dining experiences to weekend getaways.

For 40 years the foundation has been dedicated to raising money for the local schools. This year’s gala paddle pledge, for the initiative “Empowering Our Kids to Strive and Thrive,” broke all previous records by raising more than $220,000, according to organizers.

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This major-projects initiative, in partnership with the La Cañada Unified School District, is part of a K-12 wellness program. The paddle pledge raised funds to support key elements of this initiative, which will impact more than 4,100 students.

The gala honored Craig and Melissa Mazin as winners of this year’s Spirit of Outstanding Service award.

“Craig and Melissa exemplify the very best in service to La Cañada schools,” said Caroline Anderson, president of the LCF Educational Foundation. “Through their many years of dedication and support, they have created a brighter future and paved the way for all of our children to succeed.”

Committee members helping to make this such an “over the top” event included Marilyn Yang, executive director of the foundation; Vanessa Terzian, Betsy Hall, Truc Moore, Gina Ricci, Sun Young Fahimi, Caroline Anderson, Grace Mase, Tracy Nelson, Jaime Hefner, Arlene Fader, Jason Scherbert, John Ibsen, Joyce Mayne, Chris Silber, Karen Thurston, Julie Bae, Jeff Parks and Tim Sheffield.

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You just can’t miss a beat with songs from the group ABBA like “Waterloo,” “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” “The Name of the Game,” “Dancing Queen” or “Fernando.” These songs were at the top of the playlist when La Cañada Junior Women’s Club members, spouses and guests gathered on March 9 at the home of Gillan and Greg Frame for a fundraising party to benefit Mending Kids International, Glendale.

More than $20,000 was raised for the organization that has given thousands of children life-saving medical care in over 64 countries, including the U.S., advancing education and training toward medical sufficiency in their communities.

The Frames’ La Cañada backyard was transformed into an outdoor Greek taverna reminiscent of a scene out of the film, “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Unfortunately, there were no balmy Mediterranean breezes wafting by because it was a cold evening. However, guests braved the elements in a positive way by finding refuge inside to snack on hors d’oeuvres and bid on fabulous gift baskets procured by Trish McRae, Alice Perez and Tracey Nelson.

One of the most coveted prizes of the evening was a rare collection of six original colored sketch lithographs of costumes from the film, “Gone with the Wind.” The sketches were rendered by Academy Award-winning costume designer Walter Plunkett.

Greeting the guests at the door was Jill Chapman, president of the Juniors, which is celebrating its 50th year in the community.

Guests were going all out to meet the party request to wear Greek Isle or ’70s attire. It was a head-spinning retro fashion parade. You name it and you would see it — white platform boots, paisley print bell-bottom pants and mini skirts. Some fun wigs were thrown in for good measure.

A long table was set with glowing candles when the family style dining began, featuring Greek island specialties such as mousaka, lamb kabobs, spanakopita for a beginning. A good Greek feast just like this one ended perfectly with baklava oozing with honey. Robin Seifert, who is a Juniors member and owner of ETC Kitchen in Montrose, catered the food.

The event, chaired by Nikki Bednar, was not only a financial success for Mending Kids but lots of fun and dancing (even if it was just to keep warm). Representing Mending Kids at the party were Isabelle Fox, executive director of the organization, and Kelly Kern.

Among those attending the party were past Junior presidents Brenda Gant, Tracey Nelson, Marikay Cuthill, Kaitzer Puglia and Tamar Tujian.

Some of the others enjoying ABBA music and dancing were Ricardo and Rose Linda Gonzales, Mary Gant, Jeff Hughes, Lisa Foster and Blake Maddox, state Sen. Anthony Portantino with his wife, Ellen, Karen Nichols, Dave Cuthill, Paul Chamberlin, Kyle and Eric Grimes, Dave McRae, Analily Park, Rima Sirrieh, Michelle Strassburg, Kellie Curtis, Christy Ferguson, Carmela De Brouwer-Pinillos, Michael and Linda Koss Kelly, Jacob Tujian, Cheryl Trowbridge, Jenny Pass, Vanesa Wittenberg, Sandy Kobeissi, Sarah and Steve Lowe, Rita Gooch, Justine Plocher, Elizabeth and Eric Landswick and Apala Parikh.

The club will be celebrating its golden anniversary throughout the year and on Saturday, Oct. 12, there will be a celebratory luncheon to be held at the Thursday Club. For more information about the autumn luncheon, contact chairperson Brenda Gant at jamilalouise@yahoo.com. Be sure and look for a Juniors’ presence during the Fiesta Days Memorial Day parade in May.

Jane Napier Neely covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at jnvalleysun@aol.com with news of your special event.

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