First District-Wide STEAM Contest is a Big Success!

On May 24, twenty finalists in the Los Alamitos Unified district-wide STEAM Contest presented their projects before a panel of judges. The contest was sponsored and facilitated by LAEF (Los Alamitos Education Foundation) and took the place of what would have been the 7th annual district-wide STEAM Showcase. Students of all ages created amazing projects that incorporated science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM).

Last year, the 2020 STEAM Showcase was cancelled due to COVID-19 and LAEF worked with Los Alamitos USD schools to bring Virtual STEAM Fairs to each school community. This year, still unable to provide the showcase due to the pandemic, LAEF organized this STEAM Contest for elementary (grade levels TK-2 and 3-5) and secondary (grade levels 6-8 and 9-12) students. First, Second and third place prizes were awarded to each grade level group. LAEF, with the help of Los Al STEAM teachers, provided students with video lessons and online information to assist with their project creation.

The contest began April 1, with projects due by May 10. Over 150 STEAM projects were submitted and five finalists in each grade level group were announced on May 17.

“We are so excited about student participation in our STEAM Contest,” exclaimed Carrie Logue, LAEF’s Executive Director. “Students did an amazing job, and it was evident that much hard work, time and effort were given to each project.”

The following is a list of the finalists (in alphabetical order), their projects and the prize winners:Elementary Finalists

Grade Levels TK – 2nd

  • Arya Longlerno – “Hydroponics” (2nd Place, $150)
  • Delilah Rios – “Salt Crystal Garden”
  • Isabella Joanne Roy-Lazarito – “Robot Build” (3rd Place, $75)
  • Carson Schiele – “Banana Circuit” (1st Place, $300)
  • Leah Thompkins – “Where Does Wind Come From”

Grade Levels 3rd – 5th

  • Leah Jackson – “How Does Temperature Affect Oxygen in Ocean Waters” (1st Place, $300)
  • Manav Sathish Kumar – “Soil Erosion”
  • Emma Livingston & Joanne Marki – “Ferris Wheel”
  • Ellie Oh – “COVID-19 Animation” (2nd Place, $150)
  • Nathaniel Priyakumar – “COVID and Lungs” (3rd Place, $75)

Secondary Finalists

Grade Levels 6th – 8th

  • Lucas Beltran, Emma Osborne and Kayla Rhee – “It’s Just Water Under the Bridge – Or is it?” (3rd Place, $125)
  • Spencer Bystrom – “The Pet Feeder” (1st Place, $500)
  • Luna Cerrillo & Sofia Linzaga – “Gluten Free -vs- Gluten Cupcakes – The Differences”
  • Phyllisia Rosen – “COVID or Convenience? A Pandemic Survey of the Public”
  • Alivia Seard – “Read Seed” (2nd Place, $250)

Grade Levels 9th – 12th

  • Alexander Bystrom – “Final Jeopardy Wagering Using Reinforcement Learning” (3rd Place, $125)
  • Arjun Ghosh – “Investigating Effective Alternatives to Silver-based Pressure Sore Treatments and Other Novel Applications of Gold and Copper Nanoparticles” (1st Place, $500)
  • Landon LaPoint & Zachary Norris – “Hydrogen Endurance Racing Team Telemetry System”
  • Lucas Torgerson – “Commonsense Antifungal Defense”
  • Nora Zajzon – “Using Brain Computer Interfaces to Play Video Games” (2nd Place, $250)

On May 24, the finalists in each grade level group presented their projects to a panel of judges, who determined the winners. The judging panel for elementary students featured Los Al science educators Morgan Martin and Matt Maya, LAEF board members Felicia Gonzalez of Edward Jones and Kendra Jones of Epson, NovaWurks Mechanical Engineer Marc Baldwin, and Boeing Director Bill Cusato.

The judging panel for secondary students featured educators Melisa Baluyot, Dr. Dan Bennett and Dr. Kenneth Lopour, LAEF board members Leanne Voigt and Ruth Anne Salau Kurkjian, Chiropractor Dr. Sean Braithwaite and Javatinis owner Rob Jahncke.

First, second and third place winners in each grade level group were announced on May 25. Winners received cash prizes and all finalists will receive plaques.

 

LAEF’s Summer Enrichment Institute is Back On-Campus!

Los Alamitos, CA – LAEF is bringing its 12th annual Summer Enrichment Institute (SEI) back on-campus after offering virtual classes last year.  Fun and academic enrichment classes will be offered to students in grades TK-12 in two summer sessions (June 28-July 29 and July 12-23).

Classes are one hour and fifty minutes in length and run from 8:00am to 4:40pm each day of the session. Small class sizes of 15 maximum students, taught by credentialed teachers, provide an ideal learning environment and help students avoid summer learning loss.  Elementary classes (at Rossmoor Elementary) include Jumpstart for TK-5th grade, Spanish, French, volleyball, computer literacy and coding, STEM, musical theater, soccer, summer food exploration, art, wonders of the world, leadership academy and more.  For middle school students (at McAuliffe Middle School), courses cover art, coding and game creation, adulting 101, engineering and robotics, organization, science and more!  LAEF is also offering two classes for high school students at Los Al High School: driver’s education and college bootcamp.

LAEF is offering multi-class discounts. Purchase your first class, then receive 25% off the second class and 50% off any class thereafter. The discount can be applied to the family or individual students and is for the Summer Enrichment Institute only (the discounts do not apply to Summer Sports Camps and Music Camps).

Registration is now open at www.LAEF4Kids.org/summer, where you will also find flyers with all of the details.  Scholarships are available on a limited basis.  Early bird reduced-fee registration is available through Wednesday, June 9.

 

LAEF’s Spring Sessions Enrich Over 500 Kids!

A LAEF student reacts to an elephant toothpaste experiment at Rossmoor Elementary School

The Los Alamitos Education Foundation’s Spring 2021 Session One after-school on-campus camps have come and gone, leaving their mark on more than 530 students, as classes for LAEF’s second Spring Session begin to fill up.

This Spring, LAEF is also providing 15 virtual World Language classes to 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders across Los Alamitos Unified School District.  Nearly 350 students enrolled in these free virtual classes, ranging from Mandarin and Japanese to Spanish, French and American Sign Language. LAEF’s goal is to expose children to languages they can pursue further in their secondary education. Parents and students alike are delighted with the program and excited to see it continue.

Popular after-school classes included Truly Weird Science, Cheer, Basketball, Golf, Chess, Game Building, Coding, Art Exploration, Music Theater and STEAM Central.

LAEF was able to enrich the learning experience of 50 additional students this Spring by continuing to offer tuition scholarships, thanks to the support of grant donors like the Roosters of Orange County and the Miller Foundation. For more information on scholarships, visit LAEF4Kids.org/scholarships.

Registration is open for LAEF’s Spring Session 2 after-school program, offering many of the popular classes enjoyed in the first session, as well as some fun additions including Marine Biology, Theater-Young Directors, Pickleball, Leadership Academy and a Speed and Agility fitness class. To sign up for LAEF’s Spring Session 2 enrichment camps, visit LAEF4Kids.org/afterschool.

Mama’s Donates $2,500 to LAEF!

LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue and Mama’s Comfort Food & Cocktails Manager Candice Duval

For the third consecutive year, Mama’s Comfort Food & Cocktails in Los Alamitos committed to donating 25 cents to the Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) for every scoop of ice cream served throughout the year. LAEF was thrilled to learn that Mama’s served nearly 10,000 scoops of Thrifty Ice Cream during 2020.  On February 24th, Mama’s manager Candice Duvall presented LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue with a check for $2,500.

“LAEF is beyond grateful for the continued partnership with Mama’s and their commitment to supporting the kids of the Los Alamitos Unified School District,” said Logue.

With support from local businesses like Mama’s Comfort Food and Cocktails, LAEF will continue to support the middle school Well Spaces, which provide mental health and wellness services at Oak and McAuliffe Middle Schools.  Donations to LAEF also directly fund teachers for free elementary world language classes, the STEAM initiative and fee waiver scholarships for families in need.

Philip DeMatteo Continues to Sponsor LAEF & Los Al Kids

LAEF's Spring Soccer Camp at McGaugh Elementary

(Los Alamitos, CA) – Philip DeMatteo is sponsoring the Los Alamitos Education Foundation’s (LAEF) “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” campaign at the $5,000 level. The fundraising campaign replaced LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala. The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) is extremely grateful to Philip, who is a local real estate agent and an alumnus of the Los Alamitos school district, for supporting education in our community for the past 18 years.

Proceeds from LAEF’s Fundraising February for Los Al Kids will support the launch of the middle school Well Spaces, which provides 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 programming 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.

Philip is part of First Team Rossmoor and is a specialist in the communities of Rossmoor, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Huntington Harbor and Long Beach.  Philip was born and raised in Rossmoor and has been a Huntington Harbor homeowner since 1993. Philip works throughout Coastal North Orange County and the neighboring regions of Long Beach. He represents a range of transactions from high-end luxury estates to first-time purchases and investment properties. He is the #1 selling agent in Orange County with over $100 million sold in 2020 and the #1 agent in Rossmoor, CA. For more information, please call him directly at 562-254-6883 or email him at philipdematteo@firstteam.com.

City National Returns as Top Sponsor for LAEF’s Fundraising Campaign

Thanks to our sponsors, all Los Al kids can enjoy enrichment opportunities!

(Los Alamitos, CA) – Once again, City National Bank takes the top sponsorship spot in the Los Alamitos Education Foundation’s (LAEF) fundraising campaign, “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” at $10,000!  The fundraising campaign replaced LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala. LAEF is thrilled to have City National Bank sponsor them again at the Archduke level, and excited to have their partnership and support of educational excellence in our community. 

City National is a Los Angeles-based National Bank offering a full complement of banking, trust and investment services through 73 offices, including 19 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Miami (as CN Bank).  City National has a company philosophy of fostering healthy communities, strengthening local neighborhoods, and encouraging employment and economic and community development.  Investing in the communities they serve is the way City National does business.  City National is happy to support LAEF this year and its mission in education excellence for the kids of the Los Alamitos Unified School District.

Proceeds from the campaign 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.

Southland Credit Union Sponsors LAEF’s Fundraising Campaign

Thanks to our sponsors all Los Al kids can enjoy the wellness benefits of outdoor exercise

(Los Alamitos, CA) – Southland Credit Union sponsored the Los Alamitos Education Foundation’s (LAEF) “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” campaign at the $5,000 level.  The fundraising campaign replaced LAEF’s signature fundraising event, The Royal Gala, which Southland Credit Union has supported for the past 6 years.  Southland Credit Union has strong ties to LAEF, with two of its very own holding the title of King of Hearts – Matthew Herrick, Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Financial Services was crowned King in 2016, and President/CEO, Thomas Lent was crowned King in 2015. 

Southland Credit Union is a not-for-profit banking institution founded in 1936. It is one of the top performing credit unions in the country and has assets of $1 billion with more than 60,000 Member-owners.  Headquartered in Los Alamitos, Southland supports many local charities and events, including the Los Alamitos Race on the Base, the Los Alamitos Winter Wonderland at the Plaza and the State of the District.  Southland Members benefit from a full spectrum of competitive banking products, convenience, and exceptional service with nationwide access. Membership to Southland Credit Union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in all of Orange County and Los Angeles County. For more information on Southland Credit Union, visit their Los Alamitos Branch at 10701 Los Alamitos Blvd. or www.SouthlandCU.org.

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 Proud to be Among Nationally Recognized Orange County Non-Profits Supported by City National Bank in 2020

Sponsors like CNB make it possible for all students in the Los Al District to enjoy enhanced educational experiences through program fee scholarships

IRVINE, CA – City National Bank today announced its philanthropic performance in Orange County for 2020 and the many nonprofit organizations and charitable causes it supported last year. The bank contributed monetary and in-kind support of over $1.2 million to 53 nonprofits, schools and community organizations in 2020, which was impressive given the challenges the bank faced with its own profitability.

The bank also announced that its volunteer support reached significant levels again last year as part of its philanthropic performance and mission. While bank colleagues were not able to provide the level of in-person volunteer outreach in 2020 due to COVID-19, they were still able to donate more than 750 hours of volunteer service through virtual volunteerism such as reading to students, teaching online financial literacy classes to K-12 students, board and committee virtual calls, packing and shipping school supplies to elementary schools, and much more.

“What we did this past year, along with what we are continuing to do this year from a philanthropic standpoint, is perhaps some of the most important work we’ve ever done in our 67 year history,” said Joe McHugh, senior vice president and Orange County regional banking manager of City National Bank. “We have always been there for our clients and communities, and we will absolutely continue to be there for them during these challenging times. I am so proud of our bank and what our colleagues have done to help so many nonprofits keep their doors open to help a growing group of people and families in need.”

 

McHugh highlighted the bank’s volunteer support of its Annual Back to School Supplies Drive as a great example of how the bank looks for ways to help meet the needs of communities in Orange County beyond its monetary support. “Giving back to the communities we serve is not only the right thing to do, it is also part of City National’s culture,” said McHugh.

Following is a list of some of the nonprofit organizations throughout Orange County that City National helped with monetary, in-kind and volunteer support in 2020:

  • California State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation
  • Elephant Club
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Hoag Charity Sports
  • Innovative Housing Opportunities Inc.
  • Los Alamitos Education Foundation
  • My Good Deed
  • Orange County Museum of Art
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Small Business Development Corp. of Orange County
  • United Way – Orange County
  • University of California Irvine Foundation

City National contributes financial, in-kind and volunteer assistance to nonprofit institutions and organizations that enhance the quality of life and promote public interest where the company conducts its business.  The main areas of the bank’s community outreach include education, health and human services, community development, and arts and culture.

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.