Fundraising February Replaces LAEF’s Royal Gala, Stone Appointed King

LAEF’s 2021 King Dr. Gregg Stone

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) announced last week, that “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” will take the place of LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala, this year. In addition, LAEF is proud to announce that the campaign’s king honoree is Dr. Gregg Stone. The LAEF Board of Directors selected the Interim Principal of Los Alamitos High School to be crowned king and serve as the LAEF royal ambassador for the year!

“2020 was a tough year for everyone,” said LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue. “LAEF funding is down $400,000, so many of our services are at-risk of cancelation, including mental health & wellness support, fee waiver scholarships for families in need, free elementary world language classes, the STEAM initiative, and more.”

Since holding their eighth annual Royal Gala is not an option at this time, LAEF teams will be contacting individuals and businesses throughout the Los Al community to donate. The community is also invited to participate in an online auction taking place during the month of February.

Dr. Gregg Stone represents exactly what LAEF was looking for in an honoree during this difficult time. In August 2020, Dr. Stone came out of his recent retirement to serve as the Interim Principal of Los Alamitos High School in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He retired as the LAHS Principal in June 2019 after spending 21 years as Assistant Principal and Principal. Even in retirement, Dr. Stone spent the 2019-20 school year volunteering with LAHS counseling and assisting students needing additional academic and social-emotional support.

Stone’s leadership and connection to the Griffin community are unparalleled and he is the ideal leader for the LAHS community during this unprecedented time.  He regularly works evenings and weekends to monitor and communicate the ever-changing situation of the pandemic.  His “Thought-of-the-Week” messages have become legendary with LAHS families; they give thought provoking and wise perspectives on life and provide a big-picture view during very uncertain times.

“When we put out the call for nominations, the considerations focused on someone who demonstrates amazing support for Los Al kids, has longevity of service, is well respected in the community, and a strong supporter of LAEF.  Dr. Stone was the perfect choice! He is a humble and gracious leader who cares deeply for our District community, and we are so excited to honor him through this campaign,” said Logue.

Proceeds from LAEF’s Fundraising February for Los Al Kids will support the launch of the middle school Well Spaces, which provide mental health and wellness services at Oak and McAuliffe Middle Schools.  LAEF donated $60,000 to build out the spaces and is working to develop programing and services in conjunction with district administration.  Donations will also directly fund teachers for free elementary world language classes, which are taking place online for the 2020-21 school year and include Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, French and American Sign Language.  The STEAM initiative and providing fee waiver scholarships for families in need continue to be areas funded by LAEF donor contributions.

LAEF Donates $45,000 for STEAM!

Pictured from left to right are Lee Principal Amy Vento, Weaver Principal Dr. Todd Schmidt, Oak Principal Erin Kominsky, McGaugh Principal Dr. Issaic Gates, Los Alamitos Elementary Principal Gary Willems, Hopkinson Principal Evelyn Garcia, LAHS Principal Dr. Gregg Stone, Rossmoor Principal Amy Coltey and McAuliffe Principal Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright.

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) was proud to donate $5,000 to each Los Alamitos Unified school campus this month, for a total of $45,000 to support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and math) instruction across the district.

“Even during these trying times, LAEF is committed to its mission and continues to provide funding in critical areas impacting all students,” said LAEF Board Chair Tom Lent. LAEF has experienced a drastic drop in revenue this year due to limited class schedules and cancelled fundraising events, however the Board felt strongly about continuing these donations in the important area of STEAM.

LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue presented checks to all district principals last week and said, “It was amazing to see the gratitude from all of the school principals for this gift that will allow them to continue STEAM education even in the middle of an unprecedented year.” STEAM donations will help enhance and support programs on Middle and High School campuses and principals are committed to finding ways, even this year, to enhance and inspire student engagement in STEAM and Computer Science classes. At the elementary level, LAEF continues to partner with the “Friends of” groups at each school to provide students with an enhanced educational experience from credentialed teachers and help extend the STEAM Initiative across the district.

To date, LAEF has donated a total of $225,000 to support the salaries for Elementary School Media Center/STEAM teachers and a total of $97,500 to middle schools and LAHS to support STEAM programs.

The STEAM donations are due to the community’s support of LAEF’s King & Queen of Hearts campaign. The campaign ended on February 7th at the Royal Gala and raised over $135,000. The current Queen of Hearts is retired superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp. This year’s Royal Gala will look a little different with a Fundraising February campaign in lieu of a traditional gala. LAEF will continue to honor a member of our community with strong ties to the district and the foundation. With the community’s help, LAEF will continue to raise money for funding in critical areas.