Annual Tea By the Sea held at The Marine Room
Published - 01/25/20 - 09:00 AM | 2252 views | 2 2 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Debra Emerson (SMSC CEO), featured artist Deseray Lee, and Judy Mantle, president of the board of trustees, wearing some of Lee’s jewelry. DIANA CAVAGNARO / VILLAGE NEWS
Debra Emerson (SMSC CEO), featured artist Deseray Lee, and Judy Mantle, president of the board of trustees, wearing some of Lee’s jewelry. DIANA CAVAGNARO / VILLAGE NEWS

The Marine Room at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club partnered with St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center (SMSC) to host the sixth annual Tea By the Sea on Jan. 18.

The event began with a social hour overlooking the oceanfront with its breathtaking view. The guests were entertained by the amazing music of the guitarist Fred Benedetti. Attendees were treated to complimentary signature cocktails. Savory hors d’oeuvres were passed around on trays filled with Maine lobster bisque, goat cheese puffs, and pine nut date bars.

Marine Room’s executive chef Bernard Guillas prepared the menu for this affair. As the guests were nibbling on these yummy hors d’oeuvres, they were able to take part in the silent auction. One of the items was the beautiful jewelry made by the featured artist and SMSC student Deseray Lee.

Debra Emerson, SMSC CEO, and Judy Mantle, Ph.D., p, were on hand to greet the patrons. The honorary co-chairs for the event were Barbara Menard and Maureen King. The guests sat down to begin sampling the delicious entrees, which included serrano ham, smoked salmon and English cucumbers.

Concluding this elegant afternoon Tea By the Sea were scrumptious sweets and a variety of teas. The mouth-watering desserts included hibiscus lemon tart, winterberry vanilla genoise, and chocolate coffee joconde. As a thank-you for attending, each guest was given a dishtowel with artwork by a SMSC student.

The proceeds for the day went to the nonprofit organization St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center located in El Cajon. The focus of this school is to assist adults with developmental disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. The center provides work training and social experiences for them in addition to educating the community about these disabilities. 

SMSC has a lineup of amazing programs such as its aquatics program, which gives year-round classes. There is an education building where computer training is given to the students. They have a culinary arts training program, which offers food handling safety and kitchen safety courses. There is a 2-acre garden where managers train in the field of horticulture work with the developmentally disabled. 

Every week, the students are given art classes such as printmaking, jewelry-making, painting, charcoal, pastels, and fabric arts. This artwork is sold in Sophie’s Gallery, which now has three locations. Every year, there is an annual exhibition here in San Diego in addition to many other venues nationally and internationally for SMSC.  For more information about this nonprofit, visit      



Sunday, Jan. 26 — Ornament a la Mode: Jewelry in the Context of Early Modern Fashion, 1600-1775 at the Timken Museum from 5:30-8 p.m. by Jacquelyn Babush. Tickets are $55 for members and $85 for nonmembers. For more information, email [email protected].

Saturday, March 7 — Luncheon and fashion show to benefit Soroptimist International of San Diego. Gretchen Productions at the Sheraton Harbor Island Marina Tower will present “Striving for the Stars.” For more information, call 619-670-9880. 


Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at

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