More than 500 La Cañada community members dressed to the nines flocked to the Pasadena Convention Center Saturday for the La Cañada Flintridge Educational Foundation’s 20th Annual Gala, the Moonlight Masquerade.
Each year, the Educational Foundation donates about $1.1 million to the La Cañada Unified School District to help maintain district programs and pay staff salaries. The Foundation stages several events throughout the year, like the Jog-A-Thon and gourmet wine and food tasting, to raise funds. The Gala is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year.
This year’s Gala came a little more than one month after the formal launch of a district task force effort asking the community to collectively donate $6 million to the district for the next five years. It also came on the heels of a March 9 school board decision to send out nine pink slips to temporary district teachers.
Foundation President Valerie Aenlle-Rocha called on those in attendance at the Gala to continue raising funds for the district.
“Since its creation in 1978, the Foundation has taken enormous strides and donated more than $17 million to the district,” Aenlle-Rocha said.
Many attendees wore masks along with their tuxedos or gowns, in the spirit of the masquerade theme. The masks ranged from elegant to odd, with one man arriving in a Jason/”Friday the 13th” hockey mask.
When their eyes weren’t drawn to the masks, people roamed the halls perusing the wide range of items up for silent auction throughout the night, including original artwork from students. La Cañada High students also provided the evening’s entertainment with the school’s drama department performing scenes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
After dinner and drinks the live auction began. Sunder Ramani was the night’s auctioneer — working his way through 10 items up for bid, including a personal parking spot at LCHS, a guitar autographed by Paul McCartney and tickets to live events. The hottest item up for bid was a weeklong stay at a five-bedroom, five bathroom ski-in, ski-out condo in Park City, Utah over Christmas break, which sold for $6,500.
Rose Chan Loui was honored during the evening as the recipient of the annual Spirit of Outstanding Service award. Loui has supported La Cañada’s district schools for more than a decade, assuming leadership roles with PTA, Site Council and the Foundation.
“I’m very humbled to be standing here today,” Loui said. “I want to thank my parents for teaching me that you get what you give. I’ve found that to be true in this community.”