SchoolPower event funds Building Your Future Self program

Willie Rounaghi, Editor-in-chief/ Web Manager

On Feb. 9, SchoolPower hosted “Outside the Box,” its 34th annual dinner dance, at The Ritz Carlton to raise money for the Laguna Beach schools. With 300 supporters in attendance, the fundraiser grossed over $330,000.

A highlight of the night was when Holly and David Wilson were recognized for their support over the past 38 years. David Wilson spoke about the importance of supporting public schools and made a donation that pushed his lifetime support to $1 million.

“The generosity of the Laguna community and passion for investing in the future of our kids was certainly evident at the event. It is the same generosity and passion that enabled SchoolPower to achieve our goal of raising $500,000 through our Wave of Giving campaign in the Fall,” said SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand.

During the event, donors are able to donate directly to a specific Fund-a-Need request presented by LBUSD. Last year, the event raised $185,000 for the Fund-a-Need “Navigating the Information Age” which enhanced students’ “digital literacy.” This year’s Dinner Dance featured the Fund-a-Need “Building Your Future Self.”

Months before the event, educators collaborate to develop areas in which the funds could best impact students. In the end, the Fund-a-Need that was approved addressed programs pertaining to students’ college and real world ambitions.  

“Recent data and anecdotal evidence have shown that our young people are entering colleges and careers without the necessary problem-solving and socio-emotional skills to succeed. A large part of this has to due with their educational experience in high school, where learning is generally spoon-fed to them with not enough regard for real-life applications or individual strengths and passions,” said LBHS teacher Jun Shen.

Along with the addition of new online resources and the creation of a mentor program, the initiative will add a new class to LBHS next year.

“The Authentic Exploratory Research (AER) class has been approved by Curriculum Council and added to the Course Catalog for 2019-2020.  We will be actively advertising the class in the coming weeks to next year’s 11th and 12th-graders,” said Shen.

The class will provide the students with control of their experiences through real-life problems. Not only will students choose their curriculum, they will be provided instructors and experienced mentors to guide them along the way.

“The AER course seeks to have the students be the driving force behind their learning. With the support of the instructor and real-life industry mentors, students will propose their own topic of study based on their own passions, create driving questions that have real-world ramifications, and learn by conducting hands-on research or action-based projects,” said Shen.

The creation of the new AER course produces an additional elective choice for 11th and 12th-graders. Due to the money raised at the SchoolPower Dinner Dance, students will be provided an amazing opportunity to explore interests and opportunities before they explore the real world.