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BHEF To Honor King, Allen

It isn’t officially spring in Beverly Hills until the annual BHEF Apple Ball preparations get underway. Thursday, Beverly Hills Education Foundation CEO Dev Hankin announced the 2010 honorees.

This year finds Shawn and Larry King, acclaimed television and radio host and notable City personality, the recipients The Bosse Spirit of Philanthropy Award. The award, named for residents and long-time Beverly Hills Unified School District donors Lili and Jon Bosse, recognizes excellence in contributions to philanthropy to the City and world at large.

Choreographer, actress, director, producer and now BHUSD arts contributor Debbie Allen will be given the inaugural BEST (Building Educational Success Together) award, which highlights Allen’s immense contribution in strengthening and building diverse programs such as the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, a dance residency that introduces students in all grade levels from all sites to dance in all forms–from African to hip hop to ballet.

Among the teaching staff, personally selected by each site’s principal, the awardees are:

• Christina McDonald, Hawthorne School

• Debi Ives, Horace Mann

• Barbara Zarider, El Rodeo

• Karen Sekeres, Beverly Vista

• Kerri Benson, Beverly High

• Mike Federman, Beverly High

BHUSD administration is also awarded an Apple award. This year, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Ilene Straus and Administrative Assistant of Educational Services Yangchen Dolkar were selected to be recipients.

The Apple Ball is functional, above all. It serves as BHEF’s primary fundraiser, typically raising in excess of $500,000. This year, however, much more is needed, said Hankin.

“The foundation has promised more money to the BHUSD this year to defray pink slipping teachers so it is imperative we meet our fundraising goals,” said Hankin. “We would love to see this year be a $1 million Apple Ball.”

Funding changes such as the district’s entrance into basic aid (funding that is not provided by the state but City property taxes) make donations that much more beneficial and necessary.

“Our community can help our local school in a significant way right now,” said Hankin. “While other public school districts are shrinking, we are building. BHEF is kicking off the BEST campaign to Build Education Success Together and we can be the best when we all make a commitment to invest in education. The dividends of excellence in education are priceless not only for our children but the entire community of Beverly Hills.”

The Apple Ball will be held May 5 at The Beverly Hilton. Finding great success last year with the “Cinco de Mayo” theme, BHEF will further continue the tradition with great food, a relaxed and festive atmosphere and live entertainment, set to a more Aztec look. There will also be live and silent auctions, an additional source of fundraising income for BHEF, the only educational-based foundation in the City that can provide monies for staff and programs such as the summer enrichment and arts academy, extra-curricular enrichment teacher stipends, intramural sports, counseling, libraries and media and professional development for teachers. For tickets, visit www.bhef.org.

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