Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 11:10 am | Fair 57º


Viva Laguna! Family, Friends of Laguna Blanca School Gather for Spring Benefit

Bacara Ballroom transforms into an elegant Spanish setting for the Feria de Sevilla-themed celebration

Bert and Belle Regeer served as co-chairs of Laguna Blanca School’s Feria de Sevilla-themed spring benefit event. Click to view larger
Bert and Belle Regeer served as co-chairs of Laguna Blanca School’s Feria de Sevilla-themed spring benefit event. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

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“Viva Laguna! Feria de Sevilla” was the elegant and creative theme of the Laguna Blanca spring benefit that attracted parents of students, alumni and friends of Laguna Blanca School to enjoy themselves in supporting the present and future of the school.

Opening its doors in idyllic Hope Ranch in 1933, Laguna Blanca’s initial student body consisted of 40 boys taught by six faculty members on a quiet, six-acre campus. The school since has grown into two campuses — 35 acres in Hope Ranch and three acres in Montecito — to host a co-educational student body of about 375 students in grades early kindergarten to 12th grade.

The Bacara Resort & Spa was the perfect venue with a sunset outdoor patio reception and social hour that featured live music by master guitarist Tony Ybarra and custom-made paella prepared by Benjamin and Carol Schuster of Santa Barbara Paella on the patio in a gigantic paella pan.

Event co-chairs Belle and Bert Regeer created the unique Feria de Sevilla theme, which reflected the spirit of camaraderie, joy and celebration. The couple are parents of 9-year-old Issy, who attends Laguna Blanca.

“We just love the school,” Belle Regeer told Noozhawk. “When we enrolled our daughter, Issy, she was embraced by the other students and the school staff and was made to feel so welcome. We wanted to give back by serving as co-chairs of this benefit so that the school can do more wonderful things for the students.”

The Regeers were assisted by many volunteers, including décor chair Elizabeth Raith, faculty and staff raffle chair Ann Bankhead, live auction chair Michelle Madrid-Branch, silent auction and wine chair Tiffany Pelletier, and many others. Décor committee member Rita Tate created the outstanding red-themed floral décor, which included a large rose-filled “Viva” sign that was installed over the outdoor bar.

Once the outdoor reception closed, the crowd of nearly 300 entered the Bacara Ballroom that had been transformed into a classic and elegant Spanish setting. Dancers from the Zermeno Dance Academy in Goleta thrilled the guests who also enjoyed a generous beef filet or a vegetarian tower created with roasted vegetables, fingerling potatoes and a light chimichurri sauce.

Laguna Blanca School board chairman and 1980 alumnus Mason Farrell with wife Julie.
Laguna Blanca School board chairman and 1980 alumnus Mason Farrell with wife Julie. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Top sponsors included the Bollag family, the Whimsie Fund, the Bickett family, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Branch, Julie and Michael Davenport, the Farrell family, the Fowler family, Jan Handtmann, Carol and Stephen King, Mary and John Morouse, Stephanie and Peter Smillie, Jessica Smith and Kevin Brine, the Tolles family, Dana White, Amal and Hani Zeini, the Zhang family and many others.

Along with a high-end silent auction, a live auction attracted generous bids to benefit Laguna Blanca School, including a golf and stay at Sunriver Resort in Bend, Ore., spring break in Telluride, a week in Kauai, a heritage pig roast feast in Los Alamos, a week in Isla Navidad, Mexico, four days in Barcelona and other unique packages.

Laguna Blanca board chairman and 1980 alumnus Mason Farrell has committed decades to board leadership of youth development organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Providing leadership at Laguna Blanca School has been an honor,” he told Noozhawk. “I am looking forward to passing the baton to continue the excellence of this community treasure established over eight decades ago.

“Laguna is a culture that allows our children to be successful because it allows them to take risks. It allows them to be acknowledged for the effort. It allows them to act on stage, play a sport, make fun of themselves and be emotionally safe to do so. I’m confident in our leadership and our ability as a school to foster a space for students willing and able to be trailblazers in this rapidly changing world.”

Click here for more information about Laguna Blanca School, or call director of special events and constituent relations Cynthia McClintock at 805.687.2461 x206.

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.

A giant cauldron of paella is cooked up by Benjamin and Carol Schuster of Santa Barbara Paella for early evening hors d’oeuvres. Click to view larger
A giant cauldron of paella is cooked up by Benjamin and Carol Schuster of Santa Barbara Paella for early evening hors d’oeuvres. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
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