By Catherine Gaugh, SGVN
The Pasadena Star News/Pasadena’s Rose Magazine 2012 Woman of the Year is
devoted to teaching children to help others.
“We want our students to learn to serve because that’s what makes a
community run,” said Jennifer Ramirez, the principal of St. Philip
the Apostle School and the winner of the Woman of the Year award.
“That’s what all communities need in order to function.”
Ramirez was one of 12 finalists nominated for their contributions
to the community in several categories. There were six category winners,
and a separate Woman of the Year award.
The ceremonies were held Thursday night at the Hilton Pasadena. About
250 people attended to support the work of the nominees.
Ramirez was nominated by several school parents, who said she puts in
very long hours but is always patient and caring. The school principal
also makes sure all the 532 kindergarten through eighth-grade students
are exposed to sports, drama, chess and speech and debate.
Outside providers come in to teach things such as ballet and martial arts.
There is a tuition-assistance program as well as an emphasis on helping
others: Students help support a food bank, serve meals to senior citizens
and make treks to Union Station to deliver food to the homeless.
“It’s our mission to teach them to do what Jesus would want them to do,
which is to help other people,” she said.
Alice Coulombe, a founding member of Los Angeles Opera and a champion
of a myriad of music programs including the Colburn School, won the arts
and culture category.
Gale Kohl of Gale’s Restaurant was named winner in the business category
for contributions to a number of charities, including work on behalf of
Ability First to run the gourmet fall festival fundraiser.
Jo Stoup, who has taught music at John Muir High School and Pasadena City
College and who currently is music director for the Pasadena Young
Musicians Orchestra, was named the winner in the education category.
Cynthia J. Kurtz, president and CEO of the San Gabriel Valley Economic
Partnership and a former Pasadena city manager, was named the winner in
the public service category.
There were two Community Service winners.
Ann Slavik Hall was given the award for Community Service/Lifetime for
her work with Huntington Hospital and the Huntington Medical Research Institute.
Rebecca Huang, 18, was given the Community Service/Youth award for her work to
raise money for the Bad Weather Shelter for the homeless in Pasadena.
The other finalists were Beverly Marksbury, president of the Pasadena
Showcase House for the Arts and Cynthia Young, artistic director of
Pasadena Dance Theatre (Arts & Culture); Jaylene Moseley of J.L. Moseley Co.
and Terry Clougherty of Carmody & Co. (Business); Grace R. Chan, chief
engineer and general manager of the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts,
and state Sen. Carol Liu (Public Service).
The YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley, as the 2012 Pasadena Star-News Nonprofit
Organization of the Year, was presented with a $2,500 donation.
The evening included a performance by 15-year-old violinist Simone Porter
from the Colburn School, who made her professional solo debut with the
Seattle Symphony at age 10.