The Irvine Public Schools Foundation held its 5th annual Spirit of Excellence Gala at the headquarters of Kia Motors America over the weekend. If you weren’t able to attend this year’s glitzy fundraiser, here’s what you missed, courtesy of the foundation’s online publication, Insights.
On Saturday, September 27, IPSF proudly hosted the 5th Annual Spirit of Excellence Gala at Kia Motors America. The sold-out event, co-chaired by IPSF board member Grace Lin and sports broadcaster Jim Rome, began with red carpet arrivals, silent auction and cocktail reception. Guests were ushered into the ballroom by members of the Irvine High school marching band as well as cheerleaders and football players from all four IUSD high schools in a spirited “pep rally” style opening.
Singer/songwriter Nilu, a graduate of Woodbridge High School, performed at the event and was presented with a Rising Star Award by IUSD Superintendent Terry Walker. Jim Rome brought his talk show format to the stage, interviewing NFL great Warren Moon about his football career. Following the presentation of a posthumous Spirit of Excellence in Leadership Award to Dr. Kevin Armstrong, IPSF President and CEO Neda Eaton announced that IPSF would begin funding the Dr. Kevin Armstrong Memorial Scholarship for a qualified IUSD high school student. David Meltzer, co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing with Moon, announced the company would match funds from IPSF to fund the scholarship.
Rome also spoke onstage with ABCNews correspondent Aditi Roy, a graduate of University High School. Roy received the Spirit of the Excellence in the Arts award and reminisced about her time in IUSD schools and the impact it had on her career.
The evening featured a series of videos produced by Orange County Films and a live auction featuring six amazing experiences, including a wine tasting trip to Bordeaux, France donated by Total Wine & More, a getaway at The Resort at Pelican Hill and an Angels Baseball Experience from Angels Baseball Foundation.
Great Park Neighborhoods was the presenting sponsor of the event and has already committed to sponsoring the next two Spirit of Excellence Galas. Additional sponsors included Wells Fargo, Waste Management of Orange County, Cox Communications,Rutan & Tucker, Citibank, Dr. Lin Reproductive Fertility Center and Jim & Janet Rome. “We are extremely grateful to all the sponsors and gala guests,” said IPSF CEO and President Neda Eaton. “The generous support of IPSF’s mission will provide more teachers and instructional assistants in each IUSD school.” While the final results are still being tallied, net proceeds for the event are over $435,000.
[Update, 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2] The Orange County Register has a breakdown of this year’s Spirit of Excellence honorees here.