The Los Alamitos Education Foundation (LAEF) crowned their 2023 King and Queen at the Royal Gala on February 3rd at The Grand in Long Beach. The honors were bestowed upon King Dave Locke and Queen Erin Kominsky. They were appointed to serve as the royal ambassadors for the year due to their strong ties to the Los Al community and their ongoing support of LAEF and Los Al kids.
The Royal Gala is LAEF’s signature event and kicked off the “Fundraising February for Los Al Kids” campaign. This year, campaign proceeds will continue to support student mental health and wellness by maximizing Well Spaces at all nine Los Al USD schools. Well Spaces are calm, safe, and comfortable places for students to reset and receive counseling support. Funds will provide additional supplies and expand counseling support during the school day and after school. The total raised during the Gala was over $70,000! These funds were raised through live auction, opportunity drawing tickets and donations. Business sponsorships, donations and the online auction will continue through the end of February.
LAEF Executive Director Carrie Logue said, “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community for this important cause. LAEF is honored to put these generous donations to work, so that all Los Al children will thrive.”
Fundraising February’s top sponsors – Clean Wave Express Carwash and Southland Credit Union – were on hand to celebrate LAEF’s 2023 King and Queen. Upon arrival, guests were invited to experience calming elements of the Well Spaces from Los Alamitos High School and Rossmoor Elementary School. Guests experienced thinking puddy, calming coloring activities, and fidgets, and created stamp designs in a tabletop sand garden. After enjoying dinner, the program began with Superintendent Dr. Andrew Pulver and Logue sharing the role of Master of Ceremonies.
Locke and Kominsky were crowned by last year’s King, LAEF Champion and Board Member Emeritus, Dave Appling. Videos provided testimonials from Locke and Kominsky’s colleagues and friends to give attendees personal reflections on their tremendous impact.
After being crowned, Kominsky stated what LAEF has meant to her over the years and also thanked her school team, former assistant principals, her family, and her mom. She said that her heart will always be in Los Al and with LAEF. In June 2022, Erin Kominsky retired as Principal of Oak Middle School after 38 total years of service. Prior to Oak, she served as Principal of Weaver Elementary School for 19 years, which included the reopening of the school in 1996. Erin was named Administrator of the Year in 2004, Woman of the Year for the California Legislature in 2005, and a National Distinguished Principal for the State of California in 2012. Weaver received California Distinguished School, National Blue Ribbon and Golden Bell awards.
During Locke’s acceptance speech, he said that he considered himself lucky to work with all of the volunteers and that he has met so many wonderful families, teachers and administrators along the way. Locke began volunteering to support Los Al kids when his children were attending Hopkinson Elementary School. He served as the Hopkinson PTA Treasurer in 2011 and 2012, then as President in 2013 and 2014. He went on to serve as the McAuliffe PTA Secretary and the LAHS Baseball Booster Club Treasurer. Locke co-chaired the successful Measure G school bond campaign, which is funding the new STEM Building and second gym at LAHS.
LAEF Board Chair Felicia Gonzalez remarked, “It was a fantastic event, and we are thrilled to have Dave and Erin as our 2023 Royals. I am truly amazed by the support of the local community to ensure the ongoing success of the Royal Gala and Fundraising February campaigns. Our fundraising has totaled to more than $1.4 million over the past ten years.”
LAEF is the non-profit partner of Los Alamitos Unified School District. LAEF enhances educational excellence by providing after-school and summer enrichment programs to children in grades Pre-K to 12. LAEF provides significant funding for mental health/wellness and STEAM instruction, as well as igniting new programs and providing valuable resources, to impact all students. For additional information on LAEF, please call (562) 799-4700 Extension 80424 or visit www.LAEF4Kids.org.