Wednesday, April 25 , 2018, 7:28 am | Overcast 52º


Santa Barbara High’s MAD Academy Shoots for the Stars with 4th Annual Gala

Actor Billy Baldwin emcees event honoring Ron and Stacy Pulice with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin with an Education Innovator of Year Award

Actor Billy Baldwin, left, emcee of the fourth annual fundraising Gala for Santa Barbara High School’s MAD Academy, with Stacy and Ron Pulice, who were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Actor Billy Baldwin, left, emcee of the fourth annual fundraising Gala for Santa Barbara High School’s MAD Academy, with Stacy and Ron Pulice, who were honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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Santa Barbara High School celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Multimedia Arts and Design (MAD) Academy by honoring outstanding students and contributors who are making a difference in education at the academy’s fourth annual gala fundraiser.

The evening featured an Academy Awards theme that included hordes of paparazzi (actually MAD students with cameras of all kinds around their necks), a special visit by Clark Gable and Mae West, and a fancy red carpet entrance. Actor Billy Baldwin added some authentic celebrity flair and served as the evening’s entertaining emcee. Baldwin, who has a daughter in the MAD program, spoke very highly of the program.

The social hour and dinner featured a variety of wines donated by Babcock Winery, as well as specialty cocktails. After bidding on the silent auction, which was held in a tent outside on the blustery, rainy evening, a buffet dinner catered by Olio e Limone Ristorante and Pizzeria was enjoyed by all. The duetto di lasagna, ragu d’agnello and espinaci e funghi were especially delicious.

Jazz singer-songwriter Lois Mahalia and her band performed before and after the dinner, much to everyone’s delight.

The academy honored Ron and Stacy Pulice with a Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin from with the Education Innovator of the Year Award. Weinman spoke to the audience via satellite on a large screen in the Decker’s Rotunda.

The Pulice family has three MAD graduates now out in the world. After Ron Pulice joined the board of directors, he headed up the Facility Steering Committee and became a strong force in getting the new MAD building approved and built. The couple donated $500,000 as a cornerstone gift.

Weinman and Heavin are both strong believers in project-based learning. Their donation to the capital campaign resulted in a new studio, which features backdrops, professional lighting and a green screen.

MAD Academy board members who supported the event included Ben Mascari, Ron Pulice, Nancy Kogevinas, Melanie Cava, Carola Nickolson, Jerrad Burford, Isis Castañeda, Bill Macfadyen, Stacy Pulice, Ted Simmons, Jacob Tell, Jen Cesear and Raul Cano-Rogers.

The energetic and dedicated Gala Committee included chairwoman Melanie Cava and co-chairs Rachael Bissig, Jerrad Burford, Nancy Kogevinas and Kelly Simmons. Other committee members included Merryl Brown, MaryAnne Contreras, Coleen McCoy Coombs, Stacy DeFilippo, Catherine Forester, Tuty Gusto, Sheela Hunt, Victoria Imperioli, Andrea McFarling, Terry Mehr, Connie Orud, Kathleen Ousley, Amy Riedl, Jill Rivera and Jenn Skinner.

“This is the second year that I have chaired the Gala,” Cava told Noozhawk. “I am glad to do it because I am so committed to the MAD Academy and the wonderful education it provides. So many people are involved. There were 20 people here this morning decorating and helping the cause. We hope to gross $120,000 at the Gala, a 20 percent increase over last year. We are especially grateful to Deckers for donating this wonderful space.”

Major sponsors were Merryl Brown — W.E. Weiss Foundation; the Pulice family; Berkeley and Heather Breathed; Arlington Financial Advisors — Joe Weiland; Heritage Oaks Bank; Melanie Cava; Todd Drevo; Ben and Kerri Mascari; Nancy and Linos Kogevinas; UBS-Fred Burrows; Michael and Fran Lewbel; Michael and Stacy Difilippo; and many others.

All proceeds will support students who attend the MAD Academy. Click here for more information, or call 805.966.7918. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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