Community support needed to spotlight student history academians
by Scott Hopkins
Published - 04/17/13 - 04:10 PM | 4600 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The end of the school year brings an array of award ceremonies recognizing area students for athletic achievement, club and volunteer services.

Point Loma High School remains one of the few schools in Southern California to award its top academic achievers in history. But putting on such a tribute is expensive in an era of deep school budget cuts.

For the past seven years, history department teachers have celebrated the accomplishments of their brightest teens with a classy dress-up banquet at Shelter Island’s Bali Hai Restaurant and Resort.

This year’s eighth-annual observation is slated for 6 to 8 p.m. on June 5, but community help is needed.

At the event, the brainchild of teacher Patrick McElhaney, each of about 200 students receives a pack that includes a specially created pen and certificate. But McElhaney and his colleagues said they also wish to offer small scholarships of $50 to $100.

The Pointer history department is hoping to raise $5,000 for the event, which will keep the cost of the buffet dinner at $22 per person and allow the department to help students, otherwise unable to attend, a chance to experience the unique event.

Since the banquet’s inception, local businesses and clubs with historical/political backgrounds have become part of the event. The scholarships they offer to selected achievers are funded by the club. These offerings are often delivered with verbal jabs at other attending groups with opposing political agendas. The enlightened students join in the laughter that inevitably follows.

Total banquet attendance, including parents, teachers, local groups, and special scholarship presenters hovers around the 500-person mark.

McElhaney is hoping community members will rally around his academic stars and support the upcoming event by donating money, sponsoring a specific number of students or donating items for the event raffle.

Also needed is someone to cover the cost of the $300 deposit at the Bali Hai Restaurant & Resort.

McElhaney can be reached at

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