Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 11:02 pm | Fair 68º


Supporters Dress to Impress for Laguna Blanca School’s Black & White Ball

Guests don cocktail attire and black ties for a benefit gala celebrating academic excellence and student success

[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery from the event.]

The Bacara Resort & Spa served as a fitting location for Laguna Blanca School’s elegant gala and auction, the Black & White Ball, that brought together faculty, student alumni and parents in support of innovative programs and instruction to ensure the best possible learning experience for students.

Guests donned cocktail attire and black ties to celebrate an institution that encourages students to dream big and to set their sights high, with all Laguna graduates going on to attend college at some of the world’s most selective institutions.

The mission of Laguna Blanca is championed by a belief in the power of academics, athletics and the arts to dramatically change people’s lives with small class sizes and compassionate instructors for kindergarten through 12th grade.

“What I think makes this school different is the academics are stellar, but what’s really amazing about this school is the relationship that’s established between the faculty and the students and the level and the depth of the engagement that the students have with the faculty is incredible,” said Tom Pickett, three-year board member and chair of the Board of Trustees. “They really serve as mentors, as supporters, as advisors, as friends to the students, and the students gain so much from those relationships.”

An enjoyable and successful evening for both guests and the school netted over $500,000 toward the goal of strengthening the school’s endowment through both silent and live auctions.

Auctioneer Sean Kelly generated animated bidding for a range of unique trips that echoed the breadth of the school’s curriculum, including five nights in Shanghai, two nights at Catalina island, five nights at an exclusive Miramar home, one week in Sun Valley, five nights in New York for a Breakfast at Tiffany’s weekend, a spectacular evening at the recently opened El Encanto, seven nights in Kauai, two nights at Hearst Castle, events in London and seven nights in Nicaragua.

Additionally, there was the traditional faculty and staff appreciation raffle, through which these important cogs to the success of the school were provided with the chance to win unique vacations, spa treatments, jewelry or dining experiences.

A special inspirational video with students, athletics, arts, staff and faculty played with accompaniment from the Laguna Blanca stage band performing “Home” by Phillip Phillips. Gala sponsor and Laguna parents Dewey and Stephanie Nicks produced the inspiring video with editing done by senior student Kyle Van de Kamer.

Celebrating 80 years of tradition, Laguna Blanca School is an independent, co-educational, college-preparatory curriculum comprised of an advanced range of academics that includes English, mathematics, laboratory and computer sciences, arts, athletics, human development and community service.

Nearly 50 faculty members teach 350 students on a 35-acre campus on Hope Ranch for grades 5 through 12 and kindergarten through fourth grade on a charming campus in Montecito with a 1-to-8 teacher-student ratio that enhances learning and builds relationships.

From as early as K-6, students are taught two foreign languages as just one of the many prerequisites for graduation in order to build a well-rounded education.

The fully encompassed education includes the Visual, Music, and Performing Arts Department with exposure to painting, dance, theater, photography and music featured in talent shows that range from Poetry Out Loud competitions to The Imagine Project.

Delphine Anaya, a visual arts teacher in her 11th year at Laguna, shared with Noozhawk some of the expectations she has for her students.

“To think for themselves and to problem-solve in a way that is creative,” Anaya said. “There can be a solution for every problem and a lot of solutions are not approached the same way so there are many things in life that we can apply our thinking to. That is what I am trying to teach.”

Keeping in stride with the evolving concepts of multimedia technology, the school recently launched Laguna Blanca NOW, a digital curriculum initiative educational program, and introduced a new state-of-the-art Isham Library & Nylen Academic Research Center designed as a multimedia hub for the students.

The program aims to enhance the student learning process by incorporating iPads into classroom activities with digital courseware, short films, interactive videos, multimedia simulations and student exercises.

Additionally, there are two big programs under way at the school to create a full circle of education and balance in life.

“We just recently introduced an outdoor program so we have activities for students and the entire families on the weekends to do things like hiking or bike trips or kayaking out in the islands,” Pickett told Noozhawk. “In fact, we have a three-day global studies program coming up in the spring where we’ll have a global speaker come and speak to our entire community, and then we’ll have various breakout sessions about global issues and global studies.”

Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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