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Father Robert Spitzer, left, and JSerra President Richard Meyer join me at the JSerra 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Father Dan Wilder, left, and JSerra President Richard Meyer join me at the JSerra 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Ten years is cause for celebration, so when I attended JSerra Catholic High School’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, I must admit that I was impressed with the school and its success. Starting with 150 students and a small contingent of staff members and teachers, the San Juan Capistrano school now boasts more than 1,000 students, 70 faculty and an impressive number of staff and parental and community support.

If alumnus John Razzano is an example of the JSerra student, then I really am impressed. Razzano was the celebration’s keynote speaker, having graduated in the school’s first graduating class. He has since earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from USC in astronautical engineering and currently works for the Air Force on missile launch detection satellites (Wow!). The dynamic young man credited the science department at JSerra for nurturing his passion and giving him the foundation he needed to go forward. “I’m proud I was a part of JSerra,” he concluded, “and I’m glad JSerra is a part of me.”

The celebratory party with its diamond theme took place on campus at the JSerra Pavilion (the school’s sports complex), where 327 guests gathered in the venue’s courtyard for a jam-packed silent auction and an opportunity to participate in the Hands that Built Our School wall hanging by using their painted hand to make an imprint on a paper wall with words of their choosing. Premium Wine Wall purchases, which were contributed by alumni, were brisk and the school’s photo montage of the school’s past 10 years was popular. The five founding trustee couples of the celebrated school were honored with the unveiling of a beautiful plaque showcasing their names and the renaming of the sports complex the Founders Sports Pavilion. JSerra President Richard Meyer thanked and recognized Tim & Steph Busch, Tom & Monica Parr, Roberto & Margaret Brutocao, Frank & Marleen Darras, and Marc & Candace Spizzirri.

Inside the Pavilion, Linda Young’s Elite OC Productions transformed the vast space into an elegant dinner palace, complete with red velvet draped walls, black and white-themed dinner tables centered with gorgeous crystal pedestaled white florals, platinum Chiavari chairs, a black-tiled dance floor, and a performance stage backed with glittering hanging crystal beads. An array of talented students entertained, including Matthew Chamberlain, ’15, who sang “You Raise Me Up;” Keri Adams, ’12, who performed an opera aria; the JSerra Steel Drum Band; and violinist AJ Kraus, ’12, and guitarist Jonathan Somayajulu, ’15, who performed with The Society Band. Asher Entertainment showcased the JSerra story in a rousing dance presentation choreographed by Chris Asher, and JSerra’s choirs brought down the house singing and dancing a ’70s disco number, choreographed by Asher and Brandi Smith. And, finally, student speakers, freshman Emma McClellan and junior Stuart Young, thoughtfully expressed why they love JSerra.

Most impressive were the student emcees, junior Gianna Meglia and senior Daniel Bondi, who not only looked glamorous but breezed through their dialogue like pros. JSerra Board of Directors Chair Tim Busch presented the Philanthropist of the Year Award to the R C Baker Foundation, giving accolades to the company for their major support of the school, with Larry Scott accepting the award. Ten faculty and staff members, who have been part of the school since its beginnings – thus, dubbed “10 for 10 Honorees,” were each presented an award. They included Carlos Garcia, Nancy Harrell, Teresa Houston, Jeff Kahl, Cara Morales, Chris Plaia, Tom Smith, Eric Stroupe, Andy Sulick, and Jeanne Swedo.

Vanessa Thanos, called “That Auction Girl,” revved up the live auction with such fun items as a chilled champagne magnum for your table – it sold for $1,700 – twice! And, a coveted year-long premium parking spot at the school went for $5,000 to board member Michael Hayde. To round out the evening, guests took to the dance floor, thanks to some great dance music by The Society Band, and net proceeds were estimated at $250,000 for the school’s everyday needs.

Selected photos by Happy Photos