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The Ninth Annual Ed! Gala: Party for a Good Cause

Updated: Mar 30, 2019

You are invited to El Segundo's biggest party of the year—to benefit our kids.

By Maureen Kingsley

Damian Fulton painting at Ed! Gala
Artist Damian Fulton in a live painting exhibit at last year's Ed! Gala

Arguably El Segundo’s biggest and most memorable party of the year, the Ed! Gala is also the El Segundo Ed! Foundation’s most lucrative fundraiser. This year’s Gala, the ninth annual, will be held the evening of May 10, from 6 to 11pm, in Chevron Park. Book your babysitters now, as ticket sales have begun! Proceeds from both ticket sales and the event’s online auction directly benefit ESUSD programs that so many of us parents deeply appreciate, including instructor Kerri Epps’ Seaside Strings program, the K-through-12 in-school music and vocal program, musical instruments for students at various levels, instructor Heather Ukrisna’s music program, El Segundo High School’s band director (see story on Robert Soto and the ESHS marching band in the March 2019 issue of The El Segundo Scene), art instruction at the elementary schools and Arena High School, and the high-school and middle-school drama programs. Ed!-funded programs outside of the arts include robotics, the physical-education program, El Segundo Middle School’s International Baccalaureate program and foreign-language program, El Segundo High School’s Biomedical Sciences Pathway, and more.

This year’s gala fundraiser is expected to attract nearly 1,000 guests—including community and business leaders, parents, and educators—and will feature about 35 local restaurants, caterers, breweries, and wineries sharing delicious sips and bites. Music, dancing, and other entertainment will round out the evening, and a fabulous time is expected to be had by all.

Honoring Dr. Bill Watkins

This year’s Ed! Gala is themed “Dedication to Education” and honors Dr. Bill Watkins, a longtime luminary in El Segundo education. Most recently Watkins served as El Segundo’s Board of Education president, and before that he spent time as superintendent of ESUSD, principal of El Segundo High School, and an El Segundo High School English teacher.

Watkins has high praise for the Ed! Foundation, its history, its growth, and its accomplishments, telling The El Segundo Scene, “From the time Dr. Richard Bertain, then superintendent of ESUSD, worked

Dr. Bill Watkins (third from left) with family
Dr. Bill Watkins (third from left with family) will be honored at this year's Ed! Gala for his more than 50 years of service to ESUSD.

with key business leaders in El Segundo to form the El Segundo Educational Foundation in 1983, the Ed! Foundation has financially supported our students, teachers, and education programs. Because of the financial support from Ed! throughout the years, ESUSD was able to network our schools and classrooms; provide computer labs; supply materials to teachers and classrooms; and provide an outstanding K-through-12 instrumental, string, and vocal music program.”

He continues, “Today businesses, parents, and community members, by giving $1.5 million to Ed! annually, allow ESUSD to provide an outstanding educational program for our students. For that we are all grateful.”

One-hundred percent of ticket-sale proceeds go to the Ed! Foundation’s grant to ESUSD. Buy yours here.

(This story appears in the April 2019 issue of The El Segundo Scene.)

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