The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) crowned their 2022 King at the Royal Gala on February 11 at The Grand in Long Beach. The honor was bestowed upon LAEF Champion, Dave Appling. He was appointed to serve as the royal ambassador for the year due to his strong ties to the Los Al community and his ongoing support of LAEF and Los Al kids. Appling served as the LAEF Board President from 1995 to 2008 and is now a Board Member Emeritus.
The Royal Gala is the signature event of LAEF’s “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” campaign. This year, the campaign will fund efforts to build and furnish a new “Well Space” at Los Alamitos High School. The total raised during the Gala was over $80,000! These funds were raised through live auction, opportunity drawing tickets and donations.
LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue said, “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community for this important cause. In October, a national emergency was declared because of the pandemic-related decline in child and adolescent mental health. We’ve seen so much use and success with our middle school Well Spaces and now is the time to provide a similar space at LAHS.” They are calm, comfortable places on campus where students can reset and receive counseling support.
Fundraising February’s top sponsors – City National Bank, Clean Wave Express Carwash, Southland Credit Union, and Philip DeMatteo of First Team Real Estate – were on hand to celebrate LAEF’s 2022 King. Upon arrival at the Gala, guests were invited to experience calming elements of the Well Spaces with McAuliffe Middle School leadership students Kassidy Fox, Konnor Fox, and Emma Voigt. Guests experienced aromatherapy, moved tools through a small sand garden, created loose art and added a message to the Gratitude Wall. After enjoying dinner, the program began with Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver and Logue sharing the role of Master of Ceremonies.
Appling was crowned by last year’s King, former Los Alamitos High School principal, Dr. Gregg Stone. A video provided testimonials from five of Appling’s colleagues and friends to give attendees personal reflections on his tremendous impact. During Appling’s acceptance speech, he gave details of the two key fundraising campaigns that raised $1.5 million from 1995-2005 to create technology infrastructure across the school district. He thanked many people in the room who had worked with him to make these fundraising campaigns such a big success.
LAEF Board Chair Tom Lent remarked, “It was a fantastic event, and we are thrilled to have Dave Appling as our 2022 King. I am truly amazed by the support of the local community to ensure the ongoing success of the Royal Gala and Fundraising February campaigns. Our fundraising has totaled to more than $1.2 million over the past nine years.”
LAEF is the non-profit partner of Los Alamitos Unified School District. LAEF enhances educational excellence by providing after-school and summer enrichment programs to children in grades Pre-K to 12. LAEF provides significant funding for mental health/wellness and STEAM instruction, as well as igniting new programs and providing valuable resources, to impact all students. For additional information on LAEF, please call (562) 799-4700 Extension 80424 or visit www.LAEF4Kids.org.