SchoolPower held its 32nd Annual Dinner Dance Mission: NOT Impossible on February 11 at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. The black, white and red-themed event grossed just under $300,000 for Laguna Beach schools.

After running into the room and rolling onto the stage like a top secret agent, SchoolPower President Taylor Pillsbury welcomed guests with a Nelson Mandela quote: “It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” He also thanked Dinner Dance Chairs Amy Kramer, Gorjana Reidel and Carol Moss for all their work to create an incredible evening of dining, dancing, and bidding on some amazing silent and live auction items.

The biggest mission accomplished that night was the 2017 Fund-a-Need Investing in the Well-Being of LBUSD Students, which inspired guests across the room to raise over $158,000 in a matter of minutes. The initiative, presented by Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria and approved by SchoolPower trustees in November, will create a support network for all four schools by hiring a Director of Student Support, two Student Support Specialists, and additional interns. These credentialed specialists will help students build resilience to daily stress and anxiety, as well as support students who exhibit more serious mental health issues.

According to Viloria, “The support received from SchoolPower will kickstart our Student Well-Being Initiative and the district is committed to continuing this work for years to come. This will help create additional opportunities for our students to receive the support they need to be well-rounded and successful.” A $240,000 investment from LBUSD is also proposed.

Photos courtesy of Kristin Karkoska of Blue Sky’s Studio