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Hall of Fame

LBUSD Parent Brent Martini Receives SchoolPower’s Hall of Fame Award

SchoolPower presented its top honor, “The Hall of Fame Award” (aka The Claes Award), to LBUSD parent Brent Martini. The award was created in honor of Claes Andersen, owner of The Hotel Laguna and Claes Restaurant. Andersen opened his restaurant to SchoolPower back in 2001 and underwrote an annual dinner for seven consecutive years, in addition to other generous donations. The Andersen family contributions totaled over $200,000 to SchoolPower.

With the Andersens as the benchmark, this award is not given lightly. However, it would be hard to find a more deserving recipient than Brent Martini. Mr. Martini has given his money and his time to Laguna Beach schools. As a former SchoolPower trustee and a current member of SchoolPower’s Endowment Board, Mr. Martini and his family have given approximately $300,000 to LBUSD. In recent years, his commitment has focused on helping LBUSD make substantive improvements in technology, an area where Laguna schools once lagged.

Working closely with LBUSD Chief Technology Officer Mike Morrison, his commitments have helped transform classrooms at every school in the district. “Brent’s support for technology and innovation has helped to propel LBUSD into one of the top leaders in California for technology. I love working with Brent because he focuses on results and how they directly impact our students.”

Mr. Martini’s enthusiasm has also inspired giving in others. Whether raising his bid card over and over (and over) again for LBUSD’s Social Emotional Support Fund-a-Need, which then encouraged others to raise their cards, or providing matching funds for SchoolPower’s Community Campaign or just taking the time to learn about what LBUSD needed so that he could help them attain their goals faster, he has been a force for positive change at Laguna Beach schools.

After receiving his award, Mr. Martini said, “This has been the most satisfying thing I’ve done in my life. To see our kids prosper, to see our schools prosper… it’s a good thing.”

SchoolPower Executive Director Robin Rounaghi, Hall of Fame Award Recipient Brent Martini, and LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria
SchoolPower Executive Director Robin Rounaghi, Hall of Fame Award Recipient Brent Martini, and LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria

Mark Christy, Owner of Hobie Surf Shop and Managing Partner at The Ranch at Laguna Beach – 2016 Hall of Fame Recipient

SchoolPower honored Mark Christy, owner of Hobie Surf Shop and Managing Partner at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, with the Hall of Fame Award at its annual Trustee Dinner, hosted by Okura Sushi on June 5.

SchoolPower’s Executive Director Robin Rounaghi described Christy as a “homegrown champion for this community” who understands how important it is to support the Laguna Beach schools that he attended, along with his brother, sister, son, nephew and niece. Christy graciously accepted the award by acknowledging that the local schools did a lot for his family. “We like to keep it real, keep it in the community. We give what we can and we’re stoked to do it.”

Hobie’s contributions to SchoolPower go back as far as any other business in the SchoolPower books. Hobie purchased advertising in SchoolPower’s Student Directory as early as 1998, and Christy continues to actively bid for its prized cover spots. Hobie has donated countless auction items for the Dinner Dance throughout the years, as well as being a long-time Terminator Sponsor for the Dodgeball tournament.

Christy’s newest endeavor, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, started giving back before they were even fully up and running, hosting SchoolPower’s Trustee Dinner two years ago, and its Business Appreciation party this spring. Just recently The Ranch at Laguna Beach, along with Hobie, created and hosted the first annual 3 Clubs Barefoot Canyon Classic golf tournament, a hugely successful event that perfectly exemplified Laguna’s casual and wacky vibe. Remarkably, The Ranch and Hobie underwrote every penny so that 100% of the proceeds, about $40,000, went to SchoolPower. Who does such a thing? Homegrown champion and 2016 Hall of Famer Mark Christy, that’s who.

Mark Christy and Robin Rounaghi
Mark Christy and Robin Rounaghi

It is true that SchoolPower is only as successful as the passion and commitment of its donors. Throughout the years there have been certain individuals and businesses whose involvement in SchoolPower has made a singular difference in the success of the organization and our schools.

The Hall of Fame Award (aka The Claes Award) was named in honor of its first recipient, Claes Andersen. Mr. Andersen, owner of The Hotel Laguna and its Claes Restaurant, opened his restaurant to SchoolPower in 2001, underwriting his annual dinner for seven consecutive years, as well as hosting many dinners for 50 as auction items for SchoolPower’s annual Dinner Dance. Cumulatively, Mr. Andersen and his family have donated over $200,000 to SchoolPower.

In yet one more act of amazing generosity, the Andersen family had offered to host its 8th Claes dinner, when Mr. Andersen passed away tragically on August 11, 2010. Insisting that he would want it to continue, his wife, Georgia, carried on with the fall event. Recipients of this award are filling very big shoes. SchoolPower cannot express its gratitude enough to the Andersen family. We all are in their debt.

Claes Andersen

HALL OF FAME RECIPIENTS

  • 2016 – Mark Christy of Hobie and The Ranch at Laguna Beach
  • 2015 – Kristin Karkoska of Blue Sky’s Studio
  • 2014 – Firebrand Media
  • 2013 – Fredric H. Rubel Jewelers
  • 2012 – Cary and Suzanne Redfearn of The Lumberyard
  • 2011 – Laguna Graphic Arts
  • 2010 – David Wilson
  • 2009 – Hearts of Montage
  • 2008 – Philo Smith & David Wilhelm
  • 2007 – Don Crevier
  • 2006 – Claes Andersen
Mark ChristyKristin KarkoskaFirebrand Media's Scott Sanchez and SchoolPower's Robin Rounaghi
Mike Austin and David RubelMike Austin, Cary and Suzanne Redfearn, Marcus SkenderianArash and Ali Rounaghi of Laguna Graphic ArtsDavid Wilson and Marcus SkenderianDon CrevierLaura Poochigian, Chris Loidolt, Jeff Spurlock accepting for Hearts of MontageDavid Wilhelm and Philo Smith


The Bill Steel Award

To understand the significance of the Bill Steel Award one must know of the achievements of the man it is named for. Starting in 1997-98, Mr. Steel took charge of the Community Campaign and ran it for ten years straight. The year he took over, the Community Campaign spiked from raising $30,000 the year prior to an unprecedented $81,000. He continued to inspire people to give more each of the ten years he was in charge. In 2008, his final year, the Campaign raised upwards of $500,000. In the midst of all this success, he also managed to add SchoolPower Board President to his resume from 2000-2001. Clearly, recipients of this award are individuals who are not only dedicated, but possess stamina as firm believers in Laguna's public schools.

BILL STEEL AWARD RECIPIENTS

  • 2016 – Christy & Tom Addis
  • 2015 – Lynn Gregory
  • 2014 – Kristi Cancellieri
  • 2013 – Kim Ressler
  • 2012 – Beth McCombs
  • 2010 – Kathleen and Bill Moore
  • 2009 – Fouad and Cynthia Houalla
  • 2008 – Bill Steel

Christy and Tom Addis