In late 2000, at the request of incoming athletic director Cary Brody, Larry Strawther invited a group of parents who he felt had been true do-ers in the local sports community. The group included Steve Escovedo, Ron Kahraman, Jim Montemer, Dennis Courtemarche, Mike Worthington, Kevin Dolan, Mike Trotter and Mary Ann Locklin, all successful businesspersons who held multiple leadership positions in local youth sports leagues. The group candidly told Brody what they felt needed to be done, what could be done, and the challenges they faced via cooperation with the local high school and school district.
After Randy Frisk put together a comprehensive survey of all activities (school and non-school) at Los Alamitos High School, they developed a set of priorities, based on what would benefit the largest number of students, and thus get the most people involved. The parents also formed a non-profit called OUR Los Al, to help implement these dieas.
About this same time the girls basketball boosters leadership of Lisa Rakusin, Kristal Cheek and Linda Padilla — asked Strawther what he felt would be a good fund-raising event after the big sports of football, boys basketball and baseball had already gone through the town. From talking to many local restaurants, Strawther suggested that they work with OUR Los Al to host a Taste FOR Los Al. The premise was simple. Create a large event in which all booster clubs could participate and where the opportunities to make money were better. And for restaurants, it was a single event where they could reach more people with their generosity.
The event was a success from the beginning. In that first year, booster clubs sold over 800 tickets. In recent years the Taste has annually averaged ticket sales of over 3,000 and gross revenues near two hundred and fifty thousand. Since 2001 it has raised nearly $3 million to support Los Al High activities.
The majority of the monies raised go directly to the booster clubs via ticket sales and silent auctions/raffles/and gear sales. With the leftover revenues, OUR Los Al has given grants to improve facilities such as a gym scoreboard, tennis windscreen,s softball fencing, baseball locker rooms, and the design and construction of the school’s all-weather track.