Local preschool hosting 18th annual Western Round-Up fundraiser

The La Cañada Flintridge Community Center Preschool is hosting its 18th annual Western Round-Up on Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the preschool. This western-themed fundraiser will feature pony rides, a petting zoo, carnival games and prizes, a silent auction, a raffle drawing, an IN-N-OUT Burger wagon, a bake sale, balloon animals and an inflatable slide.

The Sheep, a local band, will perform. John Bishop, a member of the Sheep, is the father of a graduate of the preschool.

“The Western Round-Up is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Danielle Caputo, the preschool’s director. “The proceeds are applied to enrichment opportunities for the children and allow us to keep tuition rates down. It’s also a fun event for area families.”

All are welcome to the preschool’s OK Corral at 4469 Chevy Chase Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Game tickets and IN-N-OUT Burger meals are available for purchase at the school the day of the event. The Round-Up will happen rain or shine. For more information about this event or the La Cañada Flintridge Community Center Preschool, call (818) 790-8687 or visit www.lcfccpreschool.com.


Sacred Heart students join “Shantytown” for good cause

Three Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy sophomores — Sophie Wellen, Cecile Sami and Natalia Zamudio — stayed the night in “Shantytown,” an experience for high-school and college students sponsored by Habitat for Humanity in the parking lot of Pasadena Nazarene Church on Feb. 4. The reality-driven fundraiser was organized to advocate for affordable housing and bring about awareness of the plight of the homeless.

“All we had were garbage bags, blankets and a cardboard igloo we built ourselves,” said Wellen, who is a member of the Youth United Leadership Committee for Habitat’s San Gabriel chapter, which helped organize the event.

More than 100 participants built a cardboard city out of boxes, listened to a family whose downturn in fortune had left them homeless, and watched the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” the true story of a hard-working man who worked his way out of homeless shelters to run his own multi-million dollar brokerage firm.

“I really didn’t understand what homeless people have to go through until that night,” Zamudio said. “It’s really made me much more grateful for what I have: food, a family and a roof over my head.”

Uncharacteristically, the temperature dropped to a chilly 44 degrees as the girls settled in for the night.

“I was so cold I couldn’t sleep,” Sami said. “Maybe that’s why we see homeless people sleeping during the day when it’s warm.”


Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy Academic Decathletes take first in Division II

The Academic Decathlon team at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy placed first in Division II for the second-consecutive year in the private-school regional competition held Jan. 29 and Feb. 5 at Bishop Alemany High School in Mission Hills. The team raked in 34 medals during the two-day event.

Third-year decathlete Mimi Spindle earned 11 out of 12 possible medals, including gold medals in art, economics, essay, interview, language and literature and social sciences, while Rachel Saad was named the second-highest scoring decathlete in Division II.

Coach Mario Pariante chaperoned the team on a trip to New York City over Thanksgiving break to broaden the girls’ studies of The Great Depression, the theme for this year’s competition.

“The team really rose to the occasion; I’m extremely proud of all of them,” Pariante said.

Sacred Heart fielded the largest squad in the history of the school — decathletes competed in two teams of nine in Division II and Division III.


La Cañada Council of PTA’s Founders Day Celebration approaching

The La Cañada Council of PTA will host its annual Founders Day Celebration on Tuesday, March 8 at the La Cañada High School auditorium. The community is invited to attend the event and help honor the recipients of the 2011 PTA Service Awards. Entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony and dessert reception.

The 2011 PTA Service Award recipients are:

La Cañada Elementary: Kelly and Paul Chamberlain, Sue Fuelling, Vicky Neumann, Tamar Tujian, Ellen Portantino and Korean BBQ families.

Palm Crest Elementary: Debbie Bedell-Au, Barb Cabello, Paulette Lantz, John and Shelley Loter, Linda Richmond, Jennifer Rubendall and Rachel Zooi.

Paradise Canyon Elementary: Kristen Brown, Mikaho Hara Chavez, Suzie Johnson, Kristen Morefield, Kris Mueller and Amy Wawrychuk.

La Cañada High School 7-8: Kim Barron, Frinna DelaCruz, Reda Hanna, Merrill Lam, Sam Picture and Joanne Park-Smith.

La Cañada High School 9-12: Jeff Brookey, Shelley Buck, Linda Kimball, Anne Tryba and Steve Zimmerman.

PTA Council: Superintendent Jim Stratton, Kelly Moore and Grace Kim.

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