Lights, Camera, Action: The CSF Telethon Brightens the Future of Coronado Schools with Megawatt Hosts!

Now that virtual events are the new normal, the Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF) is in sync with the times and set to air the FIRST EVER fully-virtual CSF Telethon on May 6, 2020 from 5-9pm.  In a combination of pre-recorded segments and live tapings with scheduled Zoom calls, Coronado residents, students and supporters will be entertained and delighted with the telethon to support our schools.

So grab your popcorn, a beverage of your choice, and settle in to watch the Coronado community rally around our amazing schools.

This year’s telethon has some amazing celebrity hosts, including returning host and former Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka.

“I am excited to support CSF because they make such a huge difference in our schools, whether it is through funding programs like summer enrichment for young kids, equipment like Chromebooks and document cameras, or essentials like lab equipment for our science classes,” says Casey. “The telethon is an important way for students to show our community their talents and what they have learned this year. It’s a vital moment for our community to step forward to support CSF and our schools financially.”

Other local celebrity hosts include the New York Times bestselling author and TV celebrity chef, Melissa d’Arabian, who will host a hilarious baking challenge called “Schooled It,” in which teachers from each of the schools will have a bake-off and students will judge.

“As a parent with three daughters enrolled in Coronado schools, I am so appreciative of the enrichment programs CSF provides for our kids,”says Melissa d’Arabian. “All of this is made possible by the generosity of our amazing community of donors.”

Joining d’Arabian are Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey, mortgage lender Kory Kavanewsky, and CUSD Superintendent Karl Mueller.

“Right now, our students are craving connectedness to school and peers and CSF is rising to the challenge by forging ahead with beloved annual Telethon!” says Karl. “While nothing in our new normal is normal, the response from the Coronado Schools Foundation certainly reminds us that in Coronado our commitment to student health, safety, and success is unwavering.”

Teachers like Devon Roberts, who teaches first grade, see the funding from CSF at work on a daily basis.

“CSF provides incredible opportunities to our students, and I am so thankful for their support,” says Devon. “It’s because of CSF that my students are able to participate weekly in our iLab where they work collaboratively, problem solve and engage in enriching hands on activities. They are also able to attend VAPA classes where they sing, dance, paint, make pottery and act.”

Devon’s daughter Audrey, in third grade at Village, working hard at distance learning while her mom leads her first grade class.

Jeanmarie Bond, CSF president and CEO, will host the event live from Coronado High School and will be welcoming zoom guests throughout the broadcast as well as introducing some of the prerecorded segments.

Jeanmarie Bond surrounded by Coronado Students hold a sign in thanks to Swinerton and Swinerton, a CSF Telethon Sponsor.

“We want to make certain that we stay connected,” says Jeanmarie. “These are unprecedented times, with everyone hunkering down and staying at home. That’s exactly why we decided to go forward with this Telethon virtually – to connect with one another, reinforce that we are all in this together, and celebrate this wonderful community that is Coronado!”

With student hosts and special guests from the community, this year’s lineup offers viewers a chance to feel engaged with their classmates, teachers, school administrators, and friends. From game shows to cooking competitions, students, teachers and community leaders will be on hand to entertain.

Student hosts Annie Cook, Kendall Chapko and Lilly Grimes sit in the Electric Golf Cart that is being raffled off. The winner of the raffle will be announced during the telethon.

The Telethon is made possible by Presenting Sponsor Swinerton and Swinerton Renewable Energy, pivotal partners in the $125 million Hotel del Coronado renovation project, along with Producing Partner Mullins Orthodontics and Golf Cart Opportunity Sponsor Willis Allen Real Estate of Coronado. Block Partners for each of the hours include the Hotel Del Coronado, Buona Forchetta, Alan Kinzel from Douglas Elliman Realty, and Dr. Natalie Bailey from Advanced Dentistry in Coronado.

Underwriting Partners for the production are La Mer on Orange Avenue, Spiro’s Greek Café, the Chisholm Mickel Team from Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton’s Coffee Shop, CMG Mortgage, Nicolls Design, and Navy Federal Credit Union. A team from Finest City Entertainment will produce and broadcast the show, with dozens of Coronado community members working virtually to ensure this show is a success.

The CSF Telethon will be broadcast live and virtually on AT&T Ch 99, Spectrum CH 19, and During the telethon viewers will be able to call in donations or go online to and choose which school they would like to donate to.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to tune in to support your schools!

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Local Performers; “Coronado’s Talent” Promises All the Feels!

Who knew Coronado was home to so many talented performers? This marks the fourth year that Alan Kinzel will produce “Coronado’s Talent,” and it’s shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. The 2020 lineup includes a girl who has played a young J.Lo on a recent tour video, a sibling team slated for America’s Got Talent, a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, an award-winning dance team, a singer from a Disney Parade in China, and even a foot juggler!

The best part? One of them could be your next-door neighbor.

“We are thrilled to provide an opportunity for people in the community to shine with their talents,” says Alan. “When you see your neighbor—who you had no idea could perform at such a high level—and the entire community is there cheering them on, it’s quite special.”

Dancers Ellis Quesada and Dom Haulsey will compete in this year’s show. Ellis was recently featured a young J.Lo in a tour video.

Coronado’s Talent–which is generously underwritten by Donna Salof and benefits Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF) and Coronado School of the Arts (COSA)–explodes onto the scene on Saturday, February 22, 7pm at Coronado High School. This event is an annual sell-out, so be sure to buy your tickets at before they’re gone.

Although guests will love the close-knit community spirit, this is no small-town production.  This year will debut a 20 by 15-foot LED wall with lights to create an electrifying concert experience. In addition, Finest City Entertainment is producing online streaming for local cable and internet, and there will be a live feed in the theatre for close ups of all the acts.

The award-winning H2A dance team will compete.

Guests will also enjoy tasty bites from food trucks with Buona Forchetta and Golden State Dogs beginning at 5pm. (Again, all proceeds benefit CSF and COSA.) Even if you’re not able to make the show, everyone is invited to enjoy some warm nosh from the food trucks!

“Also new this year, we’re enjoy a visit from the world-famous San Diego Chicken,” says Alan. “And we’re debuting a meaningful song about Coronado, an original collaboration with musician Trish Naval. If you live here, you will love this song as it touches on all things that make our community special.”

2020 judges include Mayor Richard Bailey, general managers from the Loews and Hotel Del, award-winning journalist Jane Mitchell, Dan Boyle—who runs Coronado Training Center, and Alan’s wife—teacher Lisa Kinzel.

Sugar Baby and the Honey Blues Band.

Star performances aside, for Alan and Lisa, the show is all about giving back to the community.

“This show is so meaningful because it allows us to make a significant contribution to local charities,” says Alan. “Our beneficiary has been Coronado Schools Foundation (CSF) since the beginning as they have had such a positive impact on our family.”

But more than that, the show delivers on its promise of sharing what makes Coronado so special…community pride.

“There are so many talented people of all ages here that may or may not perform on a regular basis, but they love to perform and share their talents,” says Alan. “It’s such a diverse gathering of the community where everyone comes to discover, cheer, and walk away feeling uplifted and proud to be a Coronado resident.”

Alan with contestant Theresa Kelly-Kimble. Photo by Chris Kelly.

Tickets start at $25 and go up to $75 for VIP tickets, which includes a reception from 5-7pm at Spreckels Center. VIP guests will enjoy food and drinks from Nicky Rottens, Bouna Forchetta, Gelato Paradiso and a souvenir red carpet photo by Bill Sandke. VIP guests will also receive a 3-month training membership with Coronado Training Center, and a visit from the world famous San Diego Chicken, and live music from Jennifer Franks. Buy tickets here. 

See you at the show!



Caught on Camera: Day at the Races CSF Gala

Last night’s CSF Gala and Auction, “A Day at the Races,” goes down on the books as one of the most festive events of the year.  Not only did we raise money for Coronado Schools Foundation, but we laughed, played, feasted, and danced our hearts out in true small-town, dream-big fashion. (They don’t call it the “Mom’s Prom” for nothing. The fascinators flew high and the dance moves went way down low.)

The highlights? Drinks at a lovely pinky-orange sunset on the newly-remodeled Vista Walk at the Hotel Del, bright, candy-colored hats and fascinators, soul-wrenching rendition of “Shallows”’sung by Matt Heniecke and friends,  a horse-head ice luge, hysterical hermit crab racing, a super awesome band, some pretty radical dancing by the guests, and mega-watt smiles from ear to ear.

Here are some of the pics.

Why Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Me Away from the Coronado Schools Foundation’s “Day at the Races” at the Hotel Del!

The fine folks from Coronado Schools Foundation are on the home stretch, fine tuning all the fun details for the annual CSF Gala and Auction, “Day at the Races.” It’s all happening on Saturday, October 19th at the Hotel Del Coronado from 5-10:30pm. 

I caught up with Leanne Anderson, Director of Development for Coronado Schools Foundation to get the inside track on all the exciting party details.

All I can say, is I’m chomping at the bit to get to this party!  A Kentucky Derby theme? A horse head ice luge? Sign me up!

Upon arrival, all guests are invited to mingle and meander at the glamorous VIP reception on the newly-redone Vista Walk at the Hotel Del.

Haven’t been to this part of the hotel lately? It’s undergone a complete remodel: The Del’s famed signature turret and sparkling Pacific Ocean serve as the backdrop for this beautiful garden setting, and be sure to check out the historic Dragon Tree, which dates back to the Del’s opening in 1888. And, it’s flat! No more rolling ankles in heels.

Be sure to come dressed in your race-day finest, because you’ll have a chance to score some winning prizes.

“For the very first time, we’re doing a best-dressed contest, for guys and girls,” says Leanne. 

And as far as attire goes, so many great options! I’m still tweaking my ensemble a bit, but here’s some outfit inspiration if you haven’t gotten started. (Think, bright dresses and hats or fascinators for the ladies, and festive jackets and pants and hats for the men. Bowties and fedoras? Lady-like suits? Demure bun or big Southern hair? Really, the sky’s the limit: just give it your own fun spin. )

After the outdoor reception, guests will meander into the Grand Ball Room where they’ll enjoy a three course, Derby-inspired hearty Southern meal: French onion soup in a puff pastry, New York Strip, and a fun vegan option—the stuffed petite pumpkin with baby beets and leeks. (I’m so getting this…because, petite pumpkin!)  And for dessert, be sure to save room for the white chocolate mint mousse with bourbon cream and butter short bread. Yes, please! 

And by all means, don’t forget to check out all the red napkins on the tables, folded to look like red roses. Presenting sponsor Donna Salof folded all of these by hand. Seriously? Yes, she did. Ask her.

Feeling parched? 

“Guests will be treated to a bold, festive wines by the Boisset Collection,” says Leanne. “The wines are underwritten by the Clements Group, and chosen with the help of CSF Board Chair and Sommelier Mr. Kellen Gill.” 

Sommelier-selected wines? I’ll cheers to that!

If you’re more of a cocktail guy or gal, then you won’t want to miss the Secretariat’s Ice Bar, featuring the horse-head ice luge with the “Kinzel Kocktail, sponsored by Alan Kinzel. (Hello, photo opp!)

You’ll have lots of chances to win cool prizes like a jockey silk designed by Village Elementary students under the direction of VAPA teacher Cyndi Furhmann, and you’re invited to get your picture snapped at the Kentucky Derby-style photo booth.

As far as the live auction goes, funds from the Raise your Paddle Portion of the evening will be used to equip the new innovation labs at each school site. (Think: 3-D laser printers, interactive presentation boards, and kits with hands-on materials for engineering and robotics.)

Guests will bid on all kinds of indulgent items like a Napa Valley vacation with wine tastings, a progressive dinner/bike ride hosted by CUSD teachers, the coveted Del membership, orthodontics package from Dr. Mullins, Blue Bridge Hospitality Chef experiences with wine, a full Kentucky Derby package, and…wait for it….a Bourbon Trail experience in Kentucky! 

The 8-piece live band and dance party is destined to be a winner, and will give you plenty of chances to watch your friends whip and neigh-neigh the night away. (Or, if you’re more of a “ride it, my pony,” kinda person, that’s fine too.) 

And trust me when I say this…DO NOT forget to check out the TOP SECRET, EXTRA SPECIAL race game in the back. I’m dying to tell y’all more about it, but I am sworn to secrecy! (Let’s just stay you should crawl, scamper or claw your way to the secret race room right away to check it out.)

Well folks, I hope you’re as excited as I am. See you at the races! For more info, visit 


Little Frenchie, the Henry, and Poke 123 Join the Taste of Coronado Lineup this Thursday!

Fancy an Aloe Vera cucumber martini? How about some Hawaiian Poke? Perhaps some pizza and pasta? Or cheers to chicken Bahn Mi?

Well, you can have it all–and lots more– at the Taste of Coronado. The island’s beloved food and drink event is coming to town this Thursday, October 10th, from 5pm-8pm.

Featuring five new stops–Little Frenchie, the Henry, Clayton’s Bakery & Bistro, Poke 123 and Mindful Cafe (from Sharp hospital–setting up at the Ferry Landing)–you can sample the best bites and nibbles in the Village. This year almost thirty local business are opening their doors to the hungry, festive and thirsty among us.

So text your babysitters, and loosen your belt buckles…..You can eat and drink all you want, but there’s one thing you don’t have: time.

“We are selling 800 tickets, and every year we sell out,” said Jessica Settle Cunningham, chair of the event.  So buy your tickets now at   (or you might be messaging Uber Eats.)

In case you were wondering…its no accident the event is on 10/10. It’s the Taste of Coronado’s ten year anniversary! Put on by the Coronado Junior Women’s Club, every year a portion of the proceeds go to a different local charity.  This year, it’s Camp Able, which is a non-profit organization that focuses on empowering the disabled community through fun and safe aquatic camps. (Visit for more info.)

Ready to partake, but don’t feel like walking or driving around town? No problem. The trusty trolley (three of them, to be exact) will be running on a continuous loop with seven stops around the island from 5pm-9pm.

And there’s more to “Taste” than just food and drink!

“The Coronado Fitness Club will be running a hydration station,” says Jessica, “and Coronado Bliss is doing a scalp, neck/shoulder or hand massage with Aveda oils.” Oooh, la la.

Be sure to document your night with food shots, selfies, and group photos at the Coronado Junior Women Club’s step and repeat and tag #tasteturnsten.

I’ve attended every “taste” for the last six years, so it’s a major bummer I’m missing this one. (But don’t feel too bad…I’ll be with my husband at the Annapolis Boat Show so life could be worse.) But I’m sure I’ll get some FOMO. So take lots of pics for me! It’s sure to be worthy of its ten year celebration.

“Eating, drinking, giving back and making memories, it never gets old!” says Jessica.

I couldn’t agree more! Check out Tastes from years past on my blog here.