Taste for Los Al – History

The Taste for Los Al is the principal fund-raising activitity of OUR Los Al, a grass-roots organization started by some Los Alamitos High School parents who wanted to help support activities and improve facilities at Los Alamitos High School.

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 very successful professionals and businesspersons who held multiple leadership positions in local youth league. The group candidly told Brody what they felt needed to be done, what could be done based on their own local experiences, and the challenges they faced via cooperation with the local high school and school district.

Randy Frisk put together a thorough and complete survey of athletic activities at Los Alamitos HIgh School — school and non-school-based. From there they developed a set of priorities, based on what would benefit the largest number of students, and thus get the most people involved.

In 2001 OUR Los Al’s Larry Strawther — with the help of the girls basketball boosters leadership of Lisa Rakusin, Kristal Cheek and Linda Padilla — organized the first Taste for Los Al which since that time has raised over $1.8 million to support Los Al High activities. After deciding to do it, one of the first people Strawther approached to deal with booster clubs was Diana Hill, who has been involved in every Taste since that time — as has Nancy Strawther and Kristal and Paul Cheek. In that first year, booster clubs sold over 800 tickets. In recent years the Taste has averaged ticket sales of over 3,000 and gross revenues over two hundred and twenty five thousand. Since 2001, the Taste has helped raise over $1.8 million dollars to support Griffin activities.

The principal of the Taste was simple. All booster clubs could participate in a large event 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.