It was a heroic evening at Montage Laguna Beach on March 19th as SchoolPower’s 31st annual Dinner Dance “Calling All Superheroes” shattered records by netting over $350,000 for Laguna Beach schools.

Superman and Wonder Woman impersonators greeted 325 guests on the Montage lawn at sunset. When “kryptonite” appeared, the superheroes saved the day by guiding guests into the ballroom for dinner, where they were welcomed by SchoolPower Executive Director Robin Rounaghi and President Amy Kramer.

The highlight of the evening was the video for this year’s Fund-a-Need, “The Reimagined Classroom (and Library!)”, to support the district initiative of transforming 11 classrooms at the high school and middle school, as well as the Thurston library. Created by teachers Andy Crisp and Jun Shen and introduced by LBUSD’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Morrison, the fast-paced video had the crowd laughing out loud as they followed a twisting and far-fetched journey that ultimately led to the practical conclusion of investing in our schools’ future. 

Completely energized by the video, the crowd gave a standing ovation to its creators and then gave a record-breaking $299,050 to the Fund-a-Need initiative. An extremely generous “double match” by the Wilson and Martini families, along with contributions from LBUSD and SchoolPower Endowment, maximized the impact of each donation exponentially. Due to exceeding the ambitious goal, 12 classrooms (instead of the original 11) in addition to the Thurston library will be reimagined with LCD displays, sound amplification and flexible furniture. This builds on last year’s Fund-a-Need, which helped the district modernize 12 classrooms to transform how Laguna students learn in this ever-changing world. 

Parent Brent Martini explained, “Every upgraded space means more motivated and inspired teachers and students, and anytime you have that combination, high performing kids are a likely result. And that’s what this is all about…the fundamental belief that the better the learning environment, the better the learning, the better off our kids are at LBUSD.”

The dynamic duo of Lynn Gregory and Angela Shipp chaired this year’s dinner dance. Shipp commented, “The true heroes of the evening were all the generous people who stepped up to support our schools, and ultimately the students. It was a heroic effort by all!”

We were honored at Blue Sky’s Studio to be a part of the action!  To see all them images from the event, and download your favorites, follow the link to our Dropbox account:

I don’t talk about it a lot any more, and I am not sure why, but a huge part of owning my own company for me is being able to give back to my community. I have lots of charities that I am passionate about supporting, but today I just want to highlight one of my favorites, that is in my own backyard, School Power.

Who is SchoolPower? The oldest, non-profit education foundation in Orange County, SchoolPower has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. The money raised by SchoolPower provides the four Laguna Beach public schools—El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School—with valued educational programs and resources. A percentage of the annual money raised also sustains the SchoolPower Endowment Foundation, which in turn supports the Teacher Grant Program and Large Endowment Grants. Examples of programs currently receiving funding from SchoolPower and SchoolPower Endowment are: K-3 class size reduction, performing/visual arts at the middle and high school, an additional high school counselor, an extra period for electives at the middle school, K-8 music, the foreign language program, district-wide advancements in wireless infrastructure and educational technology, an expansion of the strings program and high school athletics.

Why is this program near and dear to my heart?  Well of course my kids benefit from the generosity of the community, but also, I feel the arts are so important for kids.  My love for photography began in high school and it would be such a shame if the kids in my community did not get the same opportunities to develop their own passion for the arts, music and theater.  Laguna Beach High School has amazing access to all of the arts, technology, athletics and foreign language programs.  Many of my current clients know I rave about the school district and feel that our kids get access to the same curriculum as many of the top private schools.

As part of giving back to SchoolPower I volunteer my time throughout the year to provide photography services to SchoolPower.  Last weekend it was for an amazing fundraiser at The Montage Laguna Beach.  All involved in putting on the event did a fantastic job.  Not only did they raise an amazing amount of money for our schools, but the event was stunning and tons of fun.  For anyone that wants to download images from the event, please click on this link:  The images are free of charge, but we do request if you use them on social media or in print that you credit or tag Blue Sky’s Studio (@blueskysstudio).

Here is a link to a slideshow highlighting the event.  Enjoy!

The beauty of working with a couple over a long period of time, is that in the end, I get to call them friends.  That is definitely the case with Hope and David!  These two have been together for several years and so, when they started to plan for their wedding day, they wanted to make it everything they had dreamed of!  From their wedding ceremony at Laguna Village to their amazing reception at The Hills Hotel in Laguna Hills the day was planned to perfection.  The best part for me, was getting to shoot the “Day After” portraits.  That is right, the beautiful Hope put her dress back on and actually got into the ocean.  Not bad for a gal who had really enjoyed the party the night before.  I am so bless to do something I truely love and Hope and David…. I truely loved you two!  Enjoy!

Wedding Planning: An All Inclusive Event

Makeup: Makeup by Berit

Reception Hotel: The Hills, in Laguna Hills

Florist: Chris from Paradise Delight in Newport

Hairstyling by: Rhandi at Total Image Salon in Diamond Bar