Earlier this month, the Pleasanton Hilton was overflowing with parents and Foothill High School friends participating in a fundraising event that raised more than $110,000. In today's uncertain economy, this is a significant dollar figure that will support academic and athletic programs at the Pleasanton high school.

Co-sponsored by the Foothill Academic and Activities Booster Club and the Foothill Athletic Boosters, the Nov. 3 "Falcon Royale" gala was revived after a six-year hiatus.

According to Foothill parent Katrina Edwards, the booster groups held a spring "teaser" event, titled Denim & Diamonds, which indicated sufficient interest and support to relaunch the annual event.

In fact, the 2012 Falcon Royale got started three weeks before the actual event with an online auction. This strategy generates not just early donations but creates enthusiasm for the live event. This year, attendees at the event were treated to an elegant dinner, casino games and dancing, not to mention additional silent and live auction items.

Edwards said that popular auction items were tasty desserts prepared by Foothill students and courtside tickets to the 2012 Foothill vs. Amador High School basketball game.

Event co-chairs Donna Truex and Brenda McFarlane said they were "delighted" by all of the support. The turnout of attendees has encouraged them to already begin thinking about the 2013 Falcon Royale.


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Of course, fundraisers owe much of their success to the generosity of local businesses and organizations. This year, Foothill booster groups credit the help of community sponsors that include: Heart of the Valley Pediatric Cardiology; Hilton at the Club; E*Trade Financial; Olympic Orthodontics; DeBernardi Development; Better Homes & Gardens Realtor Cindy Gee; Alain Pinel Realtor Julia Murtagh; as well as donations by other local and Bay Area businesses and families.

In all, booster groups have raised $165,000 in 2012.

Perhaps Edwards summed up the spirit of the event best: "I personally had a great time seeing old friends and making new friends," she said, adding that she loved seeing the smiles on the faces of everyone who took the time to support the high school's students. "This can be nothing but a huge step in the right direction. Here's to 2013."

Welcome aboard: Pleasanton's Debbie Look, who serves as the Senior Field Representative for California State Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, did something on Nov. 6 that she has never done before. She voted for the first time in a general election.

Look, who was born in Canada, became a naturalized citizen last year along with her husband Chris, her daughter Kristen (28), and her son Andrew (24).

"We were all very excited to vote," she said. "It was wonderful to finally have a voice after living in this great country for 12 years." Look, who is not shy about admitting she is a Democrat, was especially pleased at a key outcome in the election: "I was happy to help re-elect President Obama," she said.

Contact Jim Ott at jimott@sbcglobal.net.