By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
The Glendale Educational Foundation feted three of its graduates at the annual Dancing with Diamonds event held on Friday night at the Glendale Hilton.
The foundation is tasked with generating funds to enrich and enhance the programs and projects of the Glendale Unified School District, according to its mission statement. The Dancing with Diamonds event each year recognizes three graduates from the district, showcasing their achievements and contributions in a variety of fields.
Paragon Diamond Award recipient was 1938 Hoover High graduate Paul R. Ignatius, honored as an individual who has demonstrated entrepreneurial/innovation excellence. With two fellow Harvard University associates he founded Harbridge House, Inc., a management consulting firm in Massachusetts. His illustrious career included his service as a lieutenant in the Navy during WWII then serving for eight years in the administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. After his military career, he became president of the Washington Post. From there, he joined the Air Transport Association where he served as president. It was announced in May that one of the next two Arleight Burke-class destroyers will be named the USS Paul Ignatius.
Former Glendale Police Chief Ron DePompa was recognized as the Premier Rose Diamond Award recipient. DePompa is a 1974 graduate of Crescenta Valley High School. During his career with GPD, he was responsible for establishing community policing, crime analysis and a special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team within the department. He led strategic planning efforts to improve community policing, established county-wide radio communications, enhanced homeland security planning and strengthened city-wide disaster and emergency preparedness. The GPD recently completed the development of an accredited DNA laboratory, the first of its kind in local municipal law enforcement.
For significant achievement at an early age, Shant Sahakian was presented with the Hope Diamond Award. Sahakian is a Hoover High School 2003 graduate and founder of Sedna Solutions, a marketing and design firm that serves businesses, non-profit organizations and governments institutions. His clients include the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, Glendale Arts, Glendale Fire Dept., the Downtown Glendale Association and many more. He serves on the international executive council of the Internet Marketing Association, one of the world’s largest professional organizations with over 900,00 members. He is also a founding member of Glendale Young Professionals, an organization that helps connect, develop and empower the next generation of business and community leaders.
In addition to recognizing the achievements of these community and business leaders, the evening included a salute to Glendale native John Wayne plus greetings by Lynn Miyamoto, president of the GEF, Dr. Richard Sheehan, superintendent of the GUSD and Nayiri Nahabedian, president of the school board. A highlight of the evening was the raffling of two diamonds, courtesy of Odette Kahwajian of Orphan Jewel. The proceedings were overseen by emcee Eric Hamilton.
The evening was capped by dance music by Bob’s Yer Uncle.
The next event that the GEF is involved with is the benefit concert by Arturo Sandoval and His Big Band. The concert is in collaboration with Glendale Arts and takes place on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale. For ticket information, visit www.alextheatre.org.