SHRUB OAK, N.Y. - The Lakeland Education Foundation (LEF) will honor four distinguished members of the Lakeland Central School District community at its annual Casino Night, Silent Auction and Dinner Dance, to be held at the Villa Barone in Mahopac on Saturday, March 5.

This year’s honorees include Thomas and Vanessa DiLorenzo of Funflatables, Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School Principal Robert Bergmann and Board of Education Trustee and former LEF Treasurer Michael Daly.

“We are proud to honor these community members and staff who have continued to lend support each and every day for the LEF’s efforts,” said LEF President Diane Kness.

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Tommy and Vanessa Dilorenzo said they were overwhelmed that their business, Funflatables, is being recognized by the Lakeland Education Foundation.

"The grants the foundation fulfills each year play a major part in enhancing the educational experience of the students in Lakeland," they said. "As proud parents of three Lakeland students, as well as being teaching staff in and out of the district, we know how important it is for children to have an education, which is supported by innovative programs.”

“We are thankful that the Lakeland Education Foundation has allowed us to play a small part in this great endeavor and are humbled by the honor that has been bestowed upon us,” they added.

Bergmann said he is humbled to be recognized by the Lakeland Education Foundation and is honored to share this with Board of Education Trustee Mike Daly and the DiLorenzo family, who donate so much of their time and energy to the district via their Funflatables business.

“The foundation does amazing things for the district and allows teachers to provide students with opportunities that will enrich the quality of their education tremendously, and I greatly appreciate their efforts,” saidBergmann. He is also a member of Unfunded Mandate band which raises money for the foundation through concerts throughout the area.

Bergmann's favorite quote is by Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 United States of America Olympic Hockey team. Coach Brooks believed that "Great moments are born from great opportunity." Bergmann believes “that every day is one such great opportunity.

“As a community we are given a chance to create great moments for one another, as well as for our students,” he offered. “By creating and building an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, we can provide students with the best educational opportunity possible. They are what matters. We can and will be heroes to our students as we educate them in every area possible and prepare them to be cooperative, accountable, tolerant and safe citizens for the 21st century.”

Mike Daly commended the Lakeland Education Foundation and its many hard-working and enthusiastic volunteers, who work year round to raise funds.

"Because of these efforts, the foundation has been able to provide over $700,000 in grants for projects that have benefited thousands of students in the district,” Daly said. “Being able to contribute to the efforts of the district’s most dedicated educators has been tremendously rewarding. To be recognized with this year’s other very worthy honorees—Rob Bergmann and the DiLorenzos—is truly humbling. I encourage every district parent and friend of the district to get involved for the benefit of our students."

The foundation’s goal is to surpass the $45,000 amount that was raised last year at the Casino Night, which is the LEF’s largest fundraising event. Major sponsors this year include: Entergy; Shaw, Perelson, May, Lambert, LLP; Yorktown Funeral Home; O'Connor Davies; B. Schoenberg; and Amedeo & Marano & Hufnagel CPAs. The LEF has also joined forces with several community partners: the Alliance for Safe Kids; the Mohegan Lake Fire Department; the town of Yorktown; and the Yorktown Police Department.

The Lakeland Education Foundation seeks to provide opportunities for the students and staff of Lakeland to expand learning opportunities, to maximize the potential of each student and to augment the excellent work that is already underway in the Lakeland schools.

“The Lakeland Education Foundation has been working hard for the past 21 years to enhance the educational experience for all Lakeland students,” Kness said.

The money raised will be used to help fund the Foundation’s grant program. Created in 1994, the Foundation has now awarded more than $750,000 in grants to help enhance the educational experience of students in the district.

For more information or to sign up to attend the event, email LEF@LakelandSchools.org.