SchoolPower In The News

SchoolPower Endowment Teacher Grants

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Thurston Middle School Wave Rider Café Opens May 30

The grand opening of the eagerly awaited Thurston Middle School Wave Rider Café is scheduled for May 30 on the night of the school’s annual Open House. The Café is designed to efficiently offer nutritious, healthy lunches while reducing the wait in line. The colors and artistry of the Café’s motif reflect the school’s Wave Rider theme.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Dean West explains, “The design of the Thurston Wave Rider Café brings an inviting feel to the nutrition area. A lot of planning and hard work went into bringing this project to fruition, including the support of SchoolPower and a very generous gift from the Cloobeck family. Facilities Director Ted Doughty, Principal Jenny Salberg, and the nutrition staff were all involved in making high quality enhancements that are a signature of this project. This new café is inspired and worthy of Orange County’s best middle school.”

Thurston Middle School Principal Jenny Salberg adds, “With the Wave Rider Café opening in late May, our students will have the opportunity to self-select nutritious and delicious grab-and-go food. The Café is just one more example of our continued commitment to the whole child, providing our students the wonderful opportunity to make healthy choices on a daily basis.”

LBUSD Child Nutrition Consultant and Registered Dietitian Megan Hartshorne shares her enthusiasm for the café opening, “It was a delight to be a part of the Wave Rider Café project. It is so special to see how the community has come together to support this new nutritional venture for Thurston’s students. From parent donors, to student input, to the planning and support of administrators, this was a real team effort. I had the privilege of surveying students and translating their voices into new, healthy options for the Wave Rider Café menu. I am excited that students will see their ideas showcased on the shelves of their new café.”

At Thurston’s Open House, parents, students and families will be able to purchase a school lunch. Each lunch offers all the components of a healthy school meal, including protein, whole grains, dairy, and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Family's Gift Scores Points for Athletes
For the second consecutive year, Laguna Beach High School’s most pressing sports-related needs will be addressed by a gift from the Hexberg Family Foundation, a donation given through SchoolPower, which supports Laguna’s public schools... Get the full story


Spirited bidding among advertisers vying for cover ad spots in the 2013-14 Student Directory made for a record-breaking auction and propelled the popular publication past the $70,000 fundraising goal at SchoolPower’s Business Appreciation Party on May 29.

SchoolPower’s annual toast to its business supporters and Directory advertisers set the stage for the most successful cover auction to date. A bidding battle elevated the back cover to an unprecedented $6,500, with Morrison Hair winning the coveted ad spot. Boat Canyon Shopping Center won the inside front cover spot for $5,100 and Subway took the inside back cover for $2,500. Longtime advertisers Hobie/Tuvalu and Art of Fitness also repeatedly raised their paddles and helped to drive up the bidding.

The education foundation’s celebration of the local business community’s generosity was hosted by SchoolPower’s newest Business Alliance member, Nirvana Grille. An alumni of Laguna Beach High School, executive chef and owner Lindsay Smith-Rosales treated guests to her culinary creations and cocktails in the restaurant’s rooftop Bliss Bar.

“I am so grateful to our generous local business community whose support plays a vital role in SchoolPower's ability to raise funds,” enthused Directory Chair Melissa Cavanaugh. “Thanks to our generous parents and our supportive business community, Laguna Beach public schools offer what I believe to be the equivalent of a world-class private school education.”

All 2,000 families in the Laguna Beach school district receive a copy of the Directory each fall and use it throughout the year for student, school and business contact information. Aiming to give business supporters even greater exposure, the alphabetical and categorical indexes of advertisers will be moved to the front of the 2013-14 Directory for improved visibility, Cavanaugh noted.

There is still time to be part of “the best read book in town.” For advertising information, visit the Laguna Beach Education Foundation’s website at or call 949-494-6811.

Directory Chair Melissa Cavanaugh (center) with Morrison Hair salon owners, James and Rachel Morrison.
Photo by Ryan Cavanaugh.

612 Donors Make History for SchoolPower

by Kristi Cancellieri, SchoolPower VP of Public Relations

With an unprecedented 64 parent volunteers manning the phones, SchoolPower’s annual Community Campaign phone-a-thon made history by raising more money, over $510,000, and reaching more donors, 612, than in its 30-plus years as Orange County’s flagship education foundation.

Every fall SchoolPower hosts its largest fundraiser, the Community Campaign, by harnessing the goodwill of parent volunteers who call upon every family in Laguna Beach schools for donations in support of public education. This year’s effort, led for the sixth time by Community Campaign V.P. Carol Normandin, saw a remarkable increase in the number of callers, donors and first-time contributors.

Helping to set the campaign on its record-breaking pace was the amazing generosity of the Martini Family who not only offered to match all donations brought in on the fifth calling night but to double those coming from first-time donors. Their offer created such an enthusiastic response that the Martini’s initial projected donation of $25,000 grew to an unprecedented $64,654.

Key matching funds also came from longtime supporters Holly and David Wilson, who donated $25,000, and from a group of past and current SchoolPower trustees and Endowment Board members who collectively contributed an additional $45,200 to keep the matching momentum going.

"My dad always told me, ‘If you can turn a dollar into two by something you do, that is always a win-win,’ “ said Brent Martini of the inspiration behind the matching gift. “It's so satisfying to see these dollars deployed immediately in our kids' classrooms because the principals support cutting-edge ideas and the teachers are extremely enthusiastic to put committed resources right to work. The more we do as a community to support public schools, the more outstanding the educational experience will be for our kids."

Funds generated by SchoolPower’s Community Campaign support educational enhancements at all four Laguna schools: smaller class sizes, elementary school music and foreign language, TMS and LBHS performing arts, LBHS athletics, to name a few. Every teacher receives at least $200 for class use from the campaign and donors of $500 and above are able to designate 20% of their gift to specific teachers or school programs. This year a record $91,000 went directly to teachers and programs as a result of these donation designations.

“The money SchoolPower raises makes a difference in our schools—it makes them better now,” enthused SchoolPower president Samantha Washer. “Having a hugely successful campaign like this is so rewarding because we know what the district needs and the more we raise, the more needs we can meet. It’s also gratifying on a personal level because Carol Normandin works so tirelessly for our schools. To watch the SchoolPower trustees and the community as a whole follow her lead and rally around our schools in order to do things we’ve never done before was rewarding on all fronts.”

For a complete list of 2012-13 Community Campaign donors or to make a contribution, visit the Laguna Beach Education Foundation’s website at or call 949-494-6811.

SchoolPower President Samantha Washer presents a check for $216,202 to District Superintendent Sherine Smith at the January 22nd School Board MeetingSchoolPower President Samantha Washer presents a check for $216,202 to District Superintendent Sherine Smith at the January 22nd School Board Meeting. This represents the first installment of the $325,000 annual gift and over $91,000 in Community Campaign designations to teachers and programs.   Photo by Kevin Yates