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Volume 15, Issue 25  | March 28, 2023Subscribe

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SchoolPower hosts “Joy!” to benefit local students

SchoolPower, Laguna Beach’s Education Foundation, will host its highly anticipated 37th Annual Gala at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club on the evening of Saturday, March 18.

Approximately 300 members of the Laguna Beach community will come together to raise funds to enrich the educational experience and support the well-being of students in the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). This year’s theme, “Joy!,” spotlights SchoolPower’s ongoing efforts to bring joy to LBUSD students, families and educators through enrichment programs, activities and family support services.

The event’s online silent auction will include a range of tempting products and unique experiences generously donated by local businesses and families. Anyone – attending the event or not – can participate in the auction by texting “schoolpowergala” to 243-725, where they can sign in to bid on items including jewelry from Fredric H. Rubel, a two-night getaway in Big Bear, four seats to a Chargers game and Arrow&Branch wines and a wine tasting experience.

“We are excited to invite SchoolPower supporters to bid on our sensational auction items,” said SchoolPower President Amy Dechary. “Each donation means we can continue to offer programs and services that help make LBUSD schools exceptional.”

SchoolPower hosts Amy and husband

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Photo by Blue Sky’s Studio

SchoolPower President Amy Francis-Dechary with her husband Paul at last year’s “Sense of Wonder” Gala

During the live auction, event attendees have the opportunity to win compelling packages, including a week at the Big Island’s Kings’ Land resort, a four-day stay in a luxury home in Aspen during X Games, three nights in a bungalow-style guest room at Montage Healdsburg and a private suite at Monster Jam Anaheim.

Attendees also will be encouraged to raise their paddles to fund the yearly Fund-a-Need initiative, which supports SchoolPower’s key programs including SchoolPower Grants, the After School Program, and the Family Resource Center. Teachers, coaches, counselors and staff are invited to apply for SchoolPower Grants at any time during the school year.

“Our goal is to encourage innovation and to support enrichment – the ‘extra stuff’ that makes our schools here in Laguna so incredible,” said Executive Director Sarah Durand. New this year, SchoolPower administers the After School Program at El Morro and Top of the World elementary schools. In partnership with LBUSD, SchoolPower also helps support the Family Resource Center, which provides LBUSD students and families with direct and immediate access to services, support and educational programs. “We have been honored to work closely with the district as the Family Resource Center has taken shape over the past couple of years – it’s exciting to be a part of this community effort to support Laguna Beach’s youth,” added Durand.

SchoolPower hosts Calvert table

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Blue Sky’s Studio

Showing their community support at last year’s “Sense of Wonder” Gala (clockwise from top) Then Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf, SchoolPower Endowment President Steve Samuelian, Kristin Samuelian, John Selbe, LBUSD Athletic Administrator Denise Selbe, Ty Estes, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach CEO Pam Estes, Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert, Amy Calvert, Matthew Gerard and Laguna Art Museum Deputy Director Victoria Gerard

“I am grateful we are able to gather as a community for this longstanding event,” said event co-chair Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal. “We are excited to support our important mission for students and families while enjoying an entertaining evening filled with joy…and a few surprises!”

For more details about the Gala, go here.

SchoolPower is the parent volunteer-based, non-profit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. Its mission is to enrich the education and support the well-being of all children in the Laguna Beach Unified School District. They achieve their mission by providing programs, raising funds and uniting the community in support of Laguna Beach students. Learn more about SchoolPower at


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