Irvine Public Schools Foundation honors Irvine district alumni
Irvine Public Schools Foundation (IPSF) hosted its 12th annual Spirit of Excellence Gala at Karma Automotive in Irvine toward the end of the recent school year.
With more than 250 guests in attendance, including a mix of civic, business and community leaders, the event raised more than $830,000. Money raised will help fund critical programs and classroom support for Irvine Unified School District (IUSD).
The evening also celebrated the accomplishments of current IUSD students and alumni whose education in Irvine has set the stage for their success. Three honorees received the Spirit of Excellence award in their respective fields, in recognition of their achievements.
The honorees included:
Spirit of Excellence in Service — Christian Munden, who served eight years in U.S. Naval Special Operations and was among a select few Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to provide direct support to Navy SEAL teams in Afghanistan and Bahrain. (Irvine High School, Class of 2000)
Spirit of Excellence in Philanthropy — FUTEK, an industry leader in sensor technology and high-performance robotics, has set an example of what it means to be a leader in both business and philanthropy.
Spirit of Excellence Rising Star — Local muralist Derrik Diza, who finds a unique way to combine his passions for art, entrepreneurship and giving back. Diza empowers the artists he represents to create long-lasting impact in their communities. (Woodbridge High School, Class of 2012)
– Submitted by Irvine Public Schools Foundation
Art & Creativity for Healing raises $88K, recognizes local residents
Art & Creativity for Healing had its annual Palette of Colors fundraiser in recent months with 210 guests at the site of Rancho Santa Margarita’s Bell Tower.
This year’s theme, “A Canvas of Hope,” grossed $88,000, with 100% of proceeds supporting the organization’s emotional healing programs through art and creative expression for those living in pain, grief, fear or stress.
During the evening program, honorees included Laura Svette, who received the Big Heart Award for Outstanding Service & Support; Jennette Pulecio, who won the Big Heart Award for Teacher of the Year; and Grace Schlichter, who received the Big Heart Award for Volunteer of the Year.
Svette, of Huntington Beach, has demonstrated integrity and commitment, and has always gone the extra mile – literally. She drives from Huntington Beach to the southern area of Camp Pendleton to facilitate workshops at the Wounded Warriors Battalion. Svette connects deeply with her teen participants as they see how much heart she puts into her workshops and how much she cares for them. She recently coordinated a workshop for 100 participants at a local family resource center.
One of the newest certified Art4Healing facilitators, Pulecio, of Lake Forest, has demonstrated excellence in all that she does. She is dedicated, relatable, and has a huge heart for helping others. Born in Honduras, the mom of two has a degree in psychology from Cal State Fullerton and has worked in HR for the past 16 years.
Art & Creativity for Healing honored Schlichter for her exemplary volunteerism and positive attitude. She comes to the office at least once a week ready and willing for any task. From soliciting auction items for the gala to preparing art boxes for kids, Schlichter also recently joined the organization’s HeARTs for Healing Women’s Guild.
– Submitted by Barbara Kimler
Locals win national championship title in competitive bridge
Competitions are the driving force behind the popularity of the card game bridge. Notably standing out among competitors is Irvine native Hongsa Situ and Laguna Woods resident Bill Shane, who claimed a victory at the 2023 Spring North American Bridge Championship, hosted by the American Contract Bridge League in New Orleans in recent months.
Situ and Shane won the President’s Cup North American Pairs, Flight C event. Both were Mini-McKinney winners in 2022 and have been playing together since March.
The 2023 Spring NABC hosted more than 3,000 bridge players of all skill levels from across the world and more than 6,650 tables of play over the course of the tournament.
ACBL hosts an NABC three times a year across the United States and Canada. Founded in 1937, ACBL is the largest bridge organization in North America with 145,000 members. Participants compete for masterpoints, the exclusive currency of ACBL that measures achievement in duplicate bridge competition.
– Submitted by Addison Hare
Ocean View High School teacher honored as 2023 System 44 Outstanding Educator of the Year
Chris Young, a teacher at Ocean View High School, was recognized as a National 180 Award recipient, being honored as the 2023 System 44 Outstanding Educator of the Year.
Each year, learning technology company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt selects students and educators to be recipients of the 180 Awards. For educators, these awards signify their dedication to the growth and success of their students, with a focus on helping them overcome personal and academic obstacles.
The 180 Awards are divided into three categories, based on demonstrated improvements in reading or math: Read 180, System 44 and Math 180. Young was recognized as one of four secondary educators under the System 44 category due to outstanding achievements in literacy within the classroom.
Young has worked within the Huntington Beach Union High School District for 22 of his 24 years in education. He currently teaches at OVHS as a special education teacher and serves as the department coordinator for the IDEAS program, an inclusive program designed to support students with special needs on a comprehensive campus.
“I am honored to receive this national award,” Young said. “Literacy intervention programs like System 44 are excellent in improving reading outcomes. I feel through the power of education, teachers can help open doors, hearts and minds of students.”
– Submitted by Huntington Beach Union High School District
The Bravo! section highlights achievements of our residents and groups. Send news of achievements for consideration to email@example.com.
Bravo to these three for making Tustin better
Bravo for these examples of initiative and achievement
Bravo to these teenage achievements and more
Bravo! for a working anniversary and lots of work with kids