CEEF’s annual gala, dubbed An Evening of Aloha, was as much about the leis, grass skirts and fundraising as it was about honoring the teachers of Cupertino’s schools.
Cupertino Education Endowment Funds’ 27th annual gala, held Jan. 28 at The Fairmont in San Jose, is traditionally a black tie benefit used to raise money for Cupertino Union School District’s schools and recognize the teachers in the district.
This year The Big Kahuna himself—also known as Phil Quon, superintendent of Cupertino Union School District—traded in his boss’s suit and tie for a flower lei and palm frond adorned Hawaiian shirt to serenade the crowd with his rendition of Tiny Bubbles, Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, and more.
A silent auction, Hawaiian dance performances, live auction and casino were part of the evening that brought out 380 attendees, most from the district, schools and parent community, according to Minh Ngo, CEEF executive director.
“Cupertino is a community that rises to meet the needs of its children. We are very grateful to the volunteers and sponsors who contributed to the event, including Texas Instruments and Silicon Valley Association of Realtors among many others. The gala’s success reflects the strong partnership shared between CEEF, CUSD, and the parent and business community in support of education.” Ngo said.
Money raised through the event will support such programs as the district’s music, arts, and technology programs.
Each of the district’s 25 school sites will be granted $3,000 for music, arts and technology, and $12,000 raised for Fund-a-Need will support the districts technology professional development team.
“This was the first time a Fund-a-Need was integrated into the gala so we are very proud of the fact that we raised this money in five minutes,” Ngo said.
Donations for the auctions came from the schools, businesses, and individual donations, and the gala’s committee was comprised of 50 percent district representation.
The highlight of the evening was the teacher recognition, during which Anthony Arnold of Miller Middle School was awarded District Teacher of the Year.
Listed in alphabetical order by school name, other teacher honors include:
- Alison Luvara, Blue Hills Elementary School
- Tami Blatter, Collins Elementary School
- Patti Wilmore, Cupertino Middle School
- Bonnie Chow, De Vargas Elementary School
- Emily Simpson, Dilworth Elementary School
- Glory Bahar, Eaton Elementary School
- Kirsten Axberg, Eisenhower Elementary School
- Michaela Jacobsen, Faria Elementary School
- Stacy Caudill, Garden Gate Elementary School
- Richard Ponce, Hyde Middle School
- Alan Wong, Kennedy Middle School
- Stacy Baier, Lawson Middle School
- Kristina Ernst, Lincoln Elementary School
- Alecia Allen, McAuliffe School
- Chia-Ching Lin, Meyerholz Elementary School
- Leanna Immel, Montclaire Elementary School
- Norma Salas, Muir Elementary School
- Murdock-Portal Elementary School, represented by Shanti Pai
- Geoffrey Cacioppo, Nimitz Elementary School
- Terri Horrnstra, Regnart Elementary School
- Amanda Boyce, Sedgwick Elementary School
- Katy Bartlett, Stevens Creek Elementary School
- Rebecca Shen, Stocklmeir Elementary School