Community are Wise Guys for Smart-A-Thon

Photos provided by CV CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Taking part in the annual Smart-A-Thon were (from left) CV Sheriffs Station Capt. Dave Silversparre, David Drucker, founder Mary Pinola and Chris Waldheim.
Chris Waldheim, right, congratulates members of the Crescenta Valley High School Volleyball Foundation Team, one of the non-profit organizations that won $500.


The 23rd annual Smart-A-Thon, held at the Verdugo Hills Hospital Council Room recently, provided participants with an afternoon of food, entertainment and prizes.

Hosted by civic leader Mary Pinola and the CV Chamber of Commerce, the event is a fundraiser for The Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce Educational Endowment Fund.

The fund was created in order to provide grants for non-profit agencies throughout Crescenta Valley. A release by the fund’s founders states that, “Since its inception in 1990, the Fund has awarded over $78,956 in grants to educational programs and projects in Crescenta Valley.” This year, the Fund has awarded $15,000 to various organizations dedicated to health and education.

The Smart-A-Thon has become an efficient – and fun – way to raise money for the Fund. Thirty-nine teams, made up of four people on each team, were formed to tackle trivia questions, the main event of the Smart-a-thon. The multiple choice questions ranged from a wide variety of topics. Some related to the area, such as “How many calls for service did Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station respond to in 2010?” while others were of the more trivial variety, such as “Quick, this is an emergency. Someone get a sphygmomanometer. What would we be looking for?” Teams had to complete the quiz within a time limit, but there was no pressure.

“We never want to embarrass anybody if they don’t know the answers,” said Mary Pinola, who is already working on Smart-A-Thon number 24. “We collect ideas all year long for skits and questions.”

In this year’s Smart-A-Thon a drawing was added to the mix. Two non-profit organizations were awarded $500 each, drawing their victories “out of a hat,” said Pinola. Hathaway-Sycamores, a program for children and families in need, and the Crescenta Valley High School Volleyball Foundation both received checks for $500.

The emcees for the afternoon were Mike Smith, Rick Dinger and Capt. David Silversparre (with Silversparre providing some piano entertainment).

“It was a lot of fun,” said Pinola. “There were so many organizations involved and ordinary citizens wanting to come out and support the cause and support the community.”