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Record-breaking year for scholarships

Donors honored for financial support of Laguna Beach High School grads, who were bestowed with more than $300,000 in funds.

June 16, 2011|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

Those who gave a record $300,000 in scholarships and financial awards to Laguna Beach High School's graduating class received recognition at the Honors Convocation.

Laguna Beach Scholarship Foundation members, educators and past scholarship recipients praised the generosity of the donors at a pre-convocation reception and dinner June 10.

"This reception is about you — our donors and presenters," said Marsha Aronoff, outgoing president of the foundation. "There would be no awards ceremony without you. The scholarships we give tonight, through your generosity, recognize the potential in these students and give them opportunities they might not otherwise have."

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The foundation awarded $300,175 to 122 graduating seniors, topping the previous record, $290,000, set in 2009.

"Pretty impressive for a town of about 25,000," Aronoff said.

"I came from a blue-collar family, and I can attest to the importance of scholarships," Supt. Sherine Smith said.

Alumni attested to the importance of the awards.

Dylan Metzler, a 2003 graduate, received awards from the American Legion and LBHS PTA, the Soroptimist International Spirit Award and Brandy Balsinger-Post, Laguna Police Department and George and Lida Lenney scholarships.

"My dreams came to fruition due to your support," Metzler said, who used the money to help pay tuition atUC Riverside.

He now is a detective in theCosta Mesa Police Department, the youngest gang expert in Orange County.

They call him "Baby D."

"See what your gifts have done," Metzler said.

Katrina Carras, who came from a "financially challenged family," applied for scholarships, but had no indication that she would be a recipient.

"Crazy as it sounds, I really did want the awards to go to the most deserving candidates," said Carras, who graduated two years ago. "After much rationalization, I came to accept that regardless of the awards ceremony I would somehow find a way to realize my dream.

"Then you floored me, really."

Carras received $20,000 in scholarships that night, leaving her in tears. She is now in her second year at the Laguna College of Art & Design, majoring in animation.

"I stand before all you lovely people tonight having contemplated greatly how I would express my monumental gratitude to you for what you have done for me and others like me," Carras said. "I can't."

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TINER FAMILY HONORED

Art teacher Peter Tiner and his family were honored for their support of the scholarship program.

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