SCVi’s Annual Vision in Education Benefit Dinner honors Laurene Weste

City Councilwoman Laurene Weste and SCVi CEO Amber Raskin stand together at the school's annual benefit dinner, March 9, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

In recognition for her leadership and support in shaping the future of education in the Santa Clarita Valley, iLEAD Schools and its founding institution SCVi honored City Councilwoman Laurene Weste during the organization’s annual Vision in Education benefit dinner Saturday.

Weste was presented with the Vision in Education award, which “recognizes a community leader who has made significant contributions to public education” and “has demonstrated extraordinary vision and dedication in supporting and expanding educational opportunities,” according to Amber Raskin, chief executive officer of iLEAD Schools Development.

“It honors someone in the community who has had a great impact on not just the education we provide, but education (throughout Santa Clarita),” said Raskin. “We’re honored to have City Councilwoman Weste here and we’re honored to be a part of the community and for the community to see us an asset.”

According to Sara Brown, outreach coordinator for SCVi, Weste has been an active supporter of SCVi’s mission since its inception.

“She has been a part of our history since the beginning and she was a part of our first lottery when she was mayor,” said Brown, adding that the lottery is the process by which they select the students who will be enrolled into the school.

More than 150 of Santa Clarita’s community leaders, business owners and education stakeholders took part in SCVi’s annual benefit dinner held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia hotel.

Funds generated through the benefit support the unique programs held for SCVi students throughout the year, according to Brown.

“This is our 10th year doing this event,” Brown said. “And for instance, one (year) the funds made were given to enhance the arts, and bought some sound boards and lighting equipment. Another year it went to build a play structure.”

That play structure, and improving said structure, was the subject of this year’s event.

“We have a huge play area now, and this year the funds are going to pay for a shade structure for the play area,” said Brown.

Following the cocktails and dining, those in attendance saw Weste accept the award from the SCVi leadership.

“I’ve always worked hard to do things for kids,” said Weste, who through the night had been spoken of favorably in terms of what she had done on behalf of education and SCVi. “It’s an interesting school … certain types of schools are beneficial for certain types of kids with certain types of learning issues. Kids learn different ways and I applaud their effort to teach children the way that particular child learns best.”

Weste noted, when asked why she’s been passionate about education through the years, that she enjoys projects that are “good right now, but also good for future generations.”

“It’s not about what we get or attain in our lives,” said Weste. “It’s about what we pass on.”

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