Los Encinos


Annual Report 2020-2021

"Many Voices, Many Stories"

Better Together: Spring Gala

by Bill Birch, Advancement Coordinator


In the spring of 2021 we found ourselves, once again, planning for a virtual gala, this one entitled, Better Together. I think we were all a bit disappointed that we still couldn’t celebrate LES together in-person, but we knew from our 2020 event, Stronger Together, that it was possible to create a special gathering online featuring plenty of humor, touching videos, incredible music, and more. While it couldn’t quite compete with in-person galas of the past for camaraderie, it could still be a successful fundraiser and a poweful bonding event for this close-knit community.

Better Together audience

(Above) Lots of smiles in the “Brady Bunch squares”  this year!

Our Auction Chair, Harriet Ching, oversaw the silent auction and, once again, she outdid herself. Thanks to her, and everyone who solicited generous donations (from gift cards to priceless experiences) we were able to raise close to $40,000 from auctioned items alone.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Max Beesley, Chris D’Arienzo, Lena Headey, Samantha Hess, Beth Littleford, Gwendolyn Osborne, Brian Posehn, Cara Rich, Brady Smith, Tiffany Smith, Channing Tatum, Julia Wackenheim, Bridget Wilson, Pete Wentz (and the members of his band, Fall Out Boy), for donating their time and talent to be a part of the show. A special thank-you goes out to our own Director of Communications, Jay Falk, who worked tirelessly shooting and editing many of the event’s entertaining and emotional videos. (Ed. Note: Bill Birch is way too humble to mention his own involvement in the planning and execution of so much of the evening’s content, hosting duties aside. Suffice it to say, it wouldn’t have been the success it was without his crucial mojo.)

Buddy Advice screenshot

Screen grab above from the video “Buddy Advice” which featured 6th graders giving their best piece of advice to their kindergarten buddies, and vice-versa.

(Video) Host Bill Birch gets the “Better Together” program going with a pre-recorded video intro to set the stage.

As we moved into the fundraising portion of the evening, John and Stacey Rubeli, and our VP of Development on the Board of Trustees, Angie Shellow, made a moving appeal to donate to the Better Together Fund. Throughout the night, the generosity of our community took center stage as donations came in not only from current parents, faculty, and friends, but also from grandparents, alumni, alumni parents, and even some incoming parents whose children weren’t even starting until the fall!

(Video) It’s a “Brand New Day” being back on campus this year!

In just under an hour, we raised over $150,000 in support of the educational programs that benefit all of our LES students.

For forty-one years, Los Encinos School has been growing more and more phenomenal, and this night was but one more example. We may be small in size, but we are big in heart… and if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that our LES community truly is better together!

(Video) 5th graders and their 1st grade buddies show how the 1953 Rosemary Clooney song, “It’s a Most Unusual Day,” is as timely as ever.