Celebrating Laguna Blanca School's Legacy at the Inaugural Golden Oak Gala

To honor its almost 90-year foundation of excellence, Laguna Blanca friends, family, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered as a community for the school’s annual spring benefit on March 11. The inaugural Golden Oak Gala returned to Laguna’s roots on its picturesque Hope Ranch campus, where guests enjoyed dinner, an exciting live auction, and dancing under lush greenery and twinkling lights in an expansive tent on the school’s athletic fields.

“The inaugural Golden Oak Gala is an example of what happens when a strong community comes together for a common purpose,” says Head of School Ron Cino. “We are incredibly grateful to our passionate, generous, and committed Event Chairs Jen Drucker and Melissa Henderson who worked seamlessly with volunteers and others throughout the school to design a spectacular night for our community to enjoy.”

Dressed elegantly in shades of gold, black, and navy, nearly 350 guests arrived for gold-flecked cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres—including mini lobster rolls, fried cauliflower bites, and a kabob station with an array of tempting sauces—while Laguna Blanca Alumna Hunter Hawkins ’19 serenaded the crowd with classic jazz tunes. Party boards provided opportunities for guests to sign up for exciting experiences such as a Japanese omakase dinner with a master chef, a dad’s bocce night, and a pickleball party.

An upscale family-style dinner by DUO Catering was served under the sparkling chandeliers of the tent. To begin, guests enjoyed abundant grazing charcuterie boards and fresh gem lettuce salads topped with whipped burrata and pickled strawberries. The main course offered selections of herb and citrus glazed black cod, petite filets with charred spring onions, crisped new potatoes, and tahini-roasted vegetables as accompaniments. Shelly and Nicholas Miller '98 kindly donated their Ballard Lane wine, which was greatly enjoyed! Citrus and chocolate tartlets and olive oil cake were a sweet cap to the meal.  

CEO of SBCC Foundation Geoff Green led the evening’s auction and was supported by emcee and Dean of Students Blake Dorfman ’02. The Live Auction portion of the night included generous vacation packages, such as a stay at a French chateau and a ski week in Aspen, as well as Irene Neuwirth jewelry and a sculpture entitled Natsukahii by Laguna parent and artist Jeff Elings ’88.

A moving video reflecting on the many generations of Laguna set a meaningful tone for the paddle-raise grand finale. With our community’s support, the event netted $470,000 to benefit Laguna’s students and programs. Guests kicked up their heels to end the memorable night with music and dancing, followed by a Night Owl After Party.

Click for event photos and photo booth images.


Gottesdiener Family

Berar Family
Drucker Family
Marilee and Stephen Gordon
Nayak Family
Turner Family
Zegar Family Fund (Stefanie and David Jackson)

Fowler Family
Chana and Jim Jackson ’78
Lorenzi/Malek Family
Pardis and Sherry Nasseri
Amber and Steve Ortiz
Probstel Family
Chris Terrill
Wyatt Family
Zemeckis Family
Friend of Laguna

Carpenter Family
Desantis Family
Eades Family
Feinstein Family
Grassini Mathern Family
Henderson Family
Marji and Jarad Jeter ’04
Loncki Family
Tiffany Pelletier
Katy Powers
Peus Family
Rice Family
Rebecca and Ari Ryan

Asher Family
Ball Family
Berg Family
Berger Family
Bollag Families
Damery Family
Durling Family
Firlik Family
Hassman Family
Ketabi/Terenzi Family
McDermott Charney Family
Popovich Family
Kirste Timm
Trautwein Family

City National Bank
Ferris Orthodontic Group
Miller Family Wine Company
White & Grube Orthodontics
Channel Islands Surfboards
Liquid I.V.
Ysidro Sake Spritz

2MODERN Furniture
DUO Catering & Events
Folded Hills
Maureen and Gary Goldberg of Coastal Properties
Haber Fine Art
HLA Productions
Irene Neuwirth
Ari & Rebecca Ryan
Trippers & Askers

Adrienne Schuele Real Estate Group of Compass, Inc.
Cutler’s Artisan Spirits
T.W. Hollister & Co.
Lilac Patisserie
Honest Abe
Edward and Claudia St George
Laguna Blanca is Santa Barbara’s premier private, co-educational, college preparatory day school for students in Early Kindergarten through Grade 12.