By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
The average person will fall in love how many times before actually getting married? Which U.S. state is nicknamed the Gem State?
Answers to questions like these – and more – were what participants of the 26th annual Smart-A-Thon were seeking at the annual luncheon held at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital on March 26. (The answers are 7 and Idaho.)
Thirty-four teams crowded the council rooms at the hospital, each team member paying $35 to see if they would earn the bragging rights of being the top trivia team by answering the most questions correctly in the timed contest.
The Smart-A-Thon is the major fundraiser for the Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber Education Fund. The donor advised fund has awarded over $137,021 in grants to educational programs and capital projects in Crescenta Valley since its inception. Grant recipients in 2014 were Crescenta Valley High School Instrumental Music Program, Glendale Community College Adaptive Physical Education Program, Clark Magnet School Robotics Program, Crescenta Valley Alliance, Glendale Healthy Kids La Crescenta Woman’s Club, Mountain Avenue Elementary School, Prom Plus, Rosemont Middle School and USC Verdugo Hills.
In addition to answering the mind-boggling questions, participants enjoyed lunch provided by the hospital and had the chance to do some shopping at the silent auction. There was plenty to choose from; auction items included cosmetics from Merle Norman Cosmetics – Montrose, a gift certificate for maid service from J’s Maids & Maintenance and Turf Club admission for four at Santa Anita Park among many other items.
Starting the festivities off was CV Chamber of Commerce immediate past president Leonard Ghazarian who introduced the afternoon’s emcees Mike Smith of Bob Smith Toyota Scion and Capt. Bill Song of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station.
If anyone wondered how great the function was, well, it was “super duper” as demonstrated by Rick Dinger, CEO, Crescenta Valley Insurance, Steve Pierce, president, Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce and Tim Unger, director of Human Resources, Rose Bowl Aquatics Center. The trio donned Superman T-shirts under their button-ups, which they shared with the crowd. Their antics ushered in a game where “basket hats” were affixed to players’ heads and opponents had to try and sink a basket with a light-weight ball.
But then things got serious as team members picked up pencils, ready to fill in answers to this year’s 75 Smart-A-Thon questions.
According to Jean Maluccio, who sits on the fund’s board of advisors, this year’s event had a large turnout, which further strengthened the fund and the ability to give money away.
“After two days rest [fund founder] Mary [Pinola]was already looking at next year,” Maluccio said. “The Education Fund has given out over $138,000 since it began, starting with only $400, and is now at $309,000, allowing us to give out close to $20,000 next year.”
She added that the entire board extends its gratitude to everyone who helped and the Smart-A-Thon attendees who make it possible.
Though everyone left with a smile on their face, it was the Clark Magnet High School engineering students who took home the top prize for answering the most questions correctly.