First published in the Feb. 9 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
More than 250 friends of the Learning Castle and La Cañada Preparatory recently gathered at the Castaway Burbank to commemorate the schools’ 30th anniversary.
The Learning Castle (TK-3), founded in 1992 by Terry Villanueva, and La Cañada Preparatory (4-8), added in 2003, have grown into two of the most successful private, nonsectarian elementary and middle schools in the San Gabriel Valley.
The schools attribute much of their success and longevity to the founding principle that students are individuals with unique talents and gifts and should be treated and taught as such. Combine that with teachers who specialize, individualized curriculum and low teacher-to-student ratios, and you have a recipe for accelerated learning.
The anniversary gala began with a cocktail reception, before attendees sat down for dinner. Herick Serna was the DJ for the evening, while casino gaming commenced in the lounge area. Silent and live auctions added an additional excitement to the night with more than 60 items up for auction; including a one-of-kind autographed Lionel Messi jersey from his final match with FC Barcelona, the legendary Spanish football club.
The main event of the evening was to recognize Villanueva and her 30 years of passionate dedication to the schools she founded. Teachers, students and parents, past and present, expressed their gratitude for and admiration of Villanueva, in both in-person and videotaped testimonials.
“Teaching is a calling requiring passion, acumen, intuition and compassion,” Villanueva wrote in the evening’s program. “And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either.”
Attendees then danced and dined the night away to celebrate this momentous milestone.
The Learning Castle and La Cañada Preparatory are located on the site of the former Foothill Intermediate School at 4490 Cornishon Ave.