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Recently I had the opportunity to co-chair CUSD's celebration of Education. This gala fund-raiser, held at the Pacific Golf & Country Club in San Clemente, raised funds to enhance and upgrade our school district's libraries.

This event was a tremendous success, and I would like to express my gratitude and congratulations to my co-chairs, Lynda Thomas and Linda Thomas-Jones, who orchestrated an enchanting evening despite extraordinary circumstances. I would also like to thank Kathy Itzel and all the volunteers who worked so hard to create an evening of pizzazz.

My gratitude also goes out to John, Frank, Monir and Laurie of Pacific Golf & Country Club, who were accommodating, flexible and overall terrific I also want to express thanks to Party Markers of San Juan Capistrano for their generous donations.

In putting this event together, we realized that society's support of public education is analogous to pushing a ball uphill. What we sometimes fail to realize is that public education is not an "I" or "me" problem. It is not a problem that affects only those with children in the public school system. If affects everyone's future, because children are the future

We all have memories or stories of at least one teacher who inspired our lives, who shaped our successes or who helped mold us into the individuals we are today. The following excerpt from "Chicken Soup for the Soul" illustrates this point.

A college professor of sociology instructed his class to venture into the Baltimore slums to get case histories of 200 young boys. As part of the assignment, his students were to include an evaluation of each young boy's chance for success in the future. In every case, the students concluded that these young boys from the slums "hadn't got a chance to succeed."

Twenty-five years later, another professor happened across the study and had his students follow up on the project. They discovered that 20 of the boys had either died or moved out of the area, but that 176 of the 180 remaining had achieved above average success as lawyers, doctors and businessmen. When questioned as to what they attributed their success to, each and every one replied that there was one special teacher who inspired them.

This teacher was still alive, so the professor sought her out and asked the very old, but still very alert, educator what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums. The teacher's eyes sparkled and her lips broke into a gentle smile, "It's really very simple,"she said. "I loved those boys."

She touched their lives and their futures. One person can be the difference, but society needs to give teachers the resources to make such a difference.

I implore you all to support our public schools, because I know personally how one teacher can make a difference.

On another note, we are proud and blessed to announce that we will be publishing the Chamber Dining Guide in cooperation with the City and South Coast Magazine. This latest venture was not so much designed with profit in mind, but rather we were intrigued by the concept and the audience.

Many of my closest friends are restaurateurs, and I wanted to make sure that the restaurants would have wide distribution and credible methods of circulation: so keep your eyes open for this exciting new publication.

As the Internet has grown in popularity and accessibility, South Coast Magazine has been approached by more than 15 different Internet providers. After much consideration, we have chosen Ernest & Allen as the most comprehensive and seasoned network available to provide our readers with the most informative graphic and professional images available.

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Copyright 2002 Ernest & Allen