Event funds more than sports

More than 250 people dressed in their finest attire were greeted by high-school football players and cheerleaders as they made their way into the clubhouse at Oakmont Country Club for the La Cañada Spartan Boosters Club's auction dinner on Saturday night.

The grand auction, benefit dinner is the largest fundraiser for the Boosters each year.

"It's critical because it's probably half of the revenue we raise for the whole year," said Jim Moore, vice president of the Boosters Club. "We are trying to raise at least $75,000 for the school just from tonight, and build community at the same time."

Along with community members attending the event, La Cañada High Principal Jackie Luzack and 7/8 Principal Anais Wenn also showed their support. Many La Cañada Unified School District board members, including President Jeanne Broberg and board member Cindy Wilcox, also were in attendance.

La Cañada Unified Supt. Jim Stratton was also there and was honored for his 19 years of service in the district. For the past two years under Stratton's leadership, LCUSD has achieved the distinction of being the second-highest-rated K-12 district in California, according to the academic performance index. Stratton received a letter of recognition from the Boosters Club and state Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, of the 44th district.

Portantino attended the event to honor the club's recent milestone.

"I just wanted to come and celebrate 40 years of Spartan Boosters," Portantino said.

Over the decades the club has helped fund La Cañada High School's extracurricular activities.

"They really are a lifeline, especially with the budget the way it is for the district," La Cañada High's Athletic Director Craig Franzen said. "Realistically, the athletic program would be nothing without boosters."

Much more than sports is funded by the club, though.

"On the other hand, they provide the things that really help drama, the engineering club and all these other things that the district doesn't have money to fund," Franzen added. "It's really a lifeline for us. It's one of the avenues that provides all the extra stuff."

The main goal for the Boosters is to give students a variety of ways to express themselves in their high-school years.

"We think that to get a quality education, it can't just be about the classroom," Moore said. "It's got to be a well-rounded education that includes student government, arts and everything else."

Funds were raised a few different ways Saturday night. Ticket cost $125 and there were plenty of things to bid on throughout the night. There were countless services, gift cards, wine and tickets to a wide range of events up for bid throughout the evening during the silent-auction. It took two rooms to hold all the items up for grabs.

"The money we raise here tonight goes directly toward creating the environment we all remember from high school," Boosters President Bill Boyd said.

There was also a live auction in which people could bid for the high-ticket item of the night, an 8-week old Golden Retriever puppy. The proceeds from the live auction will go directly toward updating the boys and girls' locker rooms at La Cañada High, Moore said.

Total earnings from the night will not be known until the Boosters meeting Thursday night.

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