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Our Laguna: Another successful Grapes for Grads

May 02, 2013|By Barbara Diamond
  • From left: Phil Owens, 2012 Grapes for Grad scholarship recipient, LCAD student Charity Oetgen and Jeff Redeker attend the annual Grapes for Grads event Sunday.
From left: Phil Owens, 2012 Grapes for Grad scholarship… (Chris Berg, Coastline…)

Americans say "Bottoms up" when they hoist a few.

The French toast is "A votre Sante." When Italians raise a glass they say "Salute" or "Cin Cin," their version of a Brit's "Cheers." In India it is "Tulleho," a combination the Raj "Talley Ho" and the colloquial Hindi word for drinking. My favorite: the Zulu "Ooogy Wawa."

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach deserves every one of them for the successful Grapes for Grads fundraiser held on Sunday at Tivoli Too!, which showed off Laguna's community spirit to great advantage.

Proceeds will fund eight scholarships: four for Laguna Beach High School graduating seniors and four for Laguna College of Art & Design students.

"We probably will have raised $30,000 when everything is collected — and the crowd was up," said John Campbell, club president, event committee member and sponsor. "The nice thing is it is growing. We are already looking forward to next year."

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When Grapes for Grads started in 2005, only a few wineries participated, but it was so successful the organizers, which included 2013 co-chairs Steven Dotorotos and Jeff Redeker, decided to make it an annual event.

Since then, more than $80,000 in scholarships has been distributed.

The focus is on students who show excellence in academics or art and a strong commitment to the community and might otherwise lack the resources to achieve their educational goals.

Last year: LCAD students Geanna Anstey, Benjamin D. Gibson, Charity Oetgen and Emalyn Tringali received scholarships.

"For me and most every college student I know, the hardest thing about college isn't all the work we do for our classes; it is paying for everything," Tringali wrote in her thank you note to the club. "From groceries to art supplies to tuition, life is a lot more expensive than I can afford on my own."

LCAD President Jonathan Burke said Grapes for Grads makes a big difference to students who need some financial aid.

"It's a wonderful event and the college is very appreciative," Burke said. "Last year, almost $14,000 went to the college."

Laguna Beach Unified School District Supt. Shereen Smith stated that the young people of Laguna Beach are truly fortunate to be served by the local Rotary Club.

"Thank you for helping me fund my education and giving me the opportunity to help add to this world," wrote Macklin Thornton, one of the 2012 high school scholarship recipients.

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