Celebrating Our Schools

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Celebrating Our Schools


Focusing our Efforts on the Immediate Needs of Our Community

Pasadena Educational Foundation’s annual Celebrating Our Schools event will be postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

PEF’s Board of Directors and staff have decided instead to focus our efforts on helping our Pasadena Unified community by providing resources for the immediate needs of those most affected. We encourage you to join us by supporting PEF’s Response Fund.

We may not be able to celebrate together this year, but will be sharing stories of the many ways our community has come together to support our students and teachers.

Stay safe and healthy,

Patrick Conyers
Executive Director

Past Celebrating Our Schools Events

Celebrating Our Schools

The Pasadena Educational Foundation’s spring event, Celebrating Our Schools MOMENTUM 2019, successfully raised more than $650,000 this year.

Momentum 2019 was one of the most successful fundraising events in PEF’s almost 50-year history thanks to a very generous $250,000 matching grant from the Helen & Will Webster Foundation. This year’s event featured: guest speaker Phil Hettema, President and Creative Executive of The Hettema Group; Exemplary Service Award recipient, Bill Creim; and an interactive student showcase. During the showcase, PUSD students captivated attendees with fun and engaging exhibits, such as 3D printed musical instruments, giant collaborative art murals, combustion experiments, advanced math, global challenge mitigation, printmaking, and costume design. Funds raised from the event support PEF’s work to provide vibrant educational programs and opportunities for all Pasadena Unified students.


Phil Hettema is the President and Creative Executive of The Hettema Group. With more than 30 years of standout achievements in themed entertainment, he leads THG’s world-class creative team in the design and production of uniquely compelling guest experiences around the globe. Notable projects include One World Observatory at One World Trade Center in New York City, the High Roller observation wheel in Las Vegas, and Beyond All Boundaries at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

Prior to forming THG, Phil was Senior VP of Attraction Development for Universal Creative. During his 14 years there, he oversaw attraction planning for all five Universal Studios parks and led the creative development of many iconic rides and shows. Phil has been a guest lecturer at TEDx, Carnegie Mellon University, USITT, IAAPA, KIN, ICOM and SIGGRAPH. He holds four patents for entertainment technology, and his projects have been honored with numerous awards including six Themed Entertainment Association Thea Awards. In 2018, the Themed Entertainment Association awarded Phil their highest honor, the Buzz Prize Thea Award for a Lifetime of Outstanding Achievements.


Take the Leap with Us!

Get hands-on and explore the remarkable Pasadena Unified programs driving our schools’ success and preparing our students to confidently and courageously leap into their bright futures.

Take a journey through a musical playground, be inspired by 60’s costume design & pop art, get mindful, expand your worldview, grow some good vibes, become a juror, a mathematician, or an early college grad, and be an integral part of our story of educational success and innovation.

Exemplary Service Award

Bill Creim

A longtime Pasadena Educational Foundation Board Member, Pasadena Unified champion, and volunteer extraordinaire.


Celebrating Our Schools BREAKTHROUGH 2018
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What an amazing evening!

Thanks to all who sponsored and attended Celebrating Our Schools BREAKTHROUGH 2018 and who support PEF in continuing to spark innovation in our PUSD schools.

Our guest speaker Andrea Armani was inspirational, the celebration of our Exemplary Partner the Pasadena Tournament of Roses was powerful, and the students and teachers in our interactive showcase were remarkable. From Alice in Wonderland to solar powered boats, our guests were wowed with costume design & French poetry, immersed in technology, challenged with advanced math, brought into the jury selection process, and became a part of our story of educational success and innovation. [More here]

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018 Pasadena City Hall Courtyard
Interactive Student Showcase 5pm | Program 6pm

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Andrea Armani
USC’s Ray Irani Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Pasadena Tournament of Roses
For supporting the Pasadena Educational Foundation’s efforts to make an impact on the lives of every student, at every school, every day.

Kick off the Evening with our Interactive Student Showcase
Get hands on and have fun with our interactive exhibits and experiences highlighting Pasadena Unified’s outstanding students and remarkable programs.

Celebrating Our Schools, ENVISION 2017
Tuesday, May 2 5PM
Pasadena City Hall Courtyard

Thank you for joining with your fellow community members for an evening of inspiration, celebration, and support.


Charles L. Harrington
Parsons CEO/Chairman/President


Tim Sippel, John Muir High School Principal
and students from the
Engineering & Environmental Science Academy

As principal at John Muir High School, Tim Sippel leads his students in the Engineering and Environmental Sciences Academy as they learn to improve the quality of life on earth through the power of science and mathematics.

Kaleidoscope, An Interactive Showcase (5-6PM)

See things differently as you immerse yourself in virtual reality, join a space mission, program a computer, examine the brain, solve a math problem, see a solar powered boat, take a photo, and more when you get hands-on and have fun at our innovation showcase featuring interactive exhibits and experiences highlighting Pasadena Unified’s outstanding students and remarkable programs.

Celebrating Our Schools INNOVATE 2016

Thank you for joining with your fellow community members to ignite the spark of innovation in our schools at our annual event.
Special Guest Speaker
President, Virgin Galactic

Exemplary Service Award
Community Arts Advocate

Featuring our first LAUNCHPAD
An Innovation Showcase

Guests got hands on and had fun at our first innovation showcase featuring interactive exhibits and experiences highlighting Pasadena Unified’s outstanding students and remarkable programs.

Celebrating Our Schools 2015

This year we will celebrate our community partners in presenting The Helen and Will Webster Foundation with this year’s Exemplary Service Award, our teachers as we honor Ray Joiner with an Outstanding Educator Award, and our students as we introduce you to Marshall senior Caolan John a PEF Summer program volunteer and 3D printing student who is off to UC Berkeley in the fall.

Spring Event 2014

PEF honored Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard and Actor/Activist Edward James Olmos for their tremendous support of our community and public education.

Spring Event 2013

Guest Speaker: Jonathan Veitch President, Occidental College

Exemplary Service Awards
Maureen Donnelly Carlson
Merrill Lynch
Skills Enrichment Program