UCLA Lab School Kicks Off 135th Anniversary With a Community Celebration Under the Stars

The UCLA Lab School community kicked off a celebration of the 135th anniversary of the founding of the school with a special reception and dinner hosted by Principal Norma Silva and Graduate School of Education & Information Studies Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco on Saturday, April 22.

More than 650 alumni, current and alumni parents, and current and former faculty and staff joined together to share in the warm spirit of the evening that featured remarks by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (’82).

“It is always coming home to be here,” Garcetti told the crowd.


The mayor went on to recall his days as a student, learning about “the Aztec culture and Native culture, and how to cross boundaries and borders. I think it’s a lesson we need today, perhaps more than ever before,” he said.

Highlights of the evening also included performances by singer Idina Menzel and the UCLA Lab School children’s choir, as well as emcee-ing by comedian, actress and producer Amy Poehler.

Farm-to-table catering by Gelila and Wolfgang Puck complimented the natural, starlit spaces of the school’s Redwood Forest and Blacktop playground.

“We are incredibly grateful to everyone who made this evening possible,” Silva said. “A special thank you goes to Gelila and Wolfgang Puck for providing us with a delectable dinner, and to Amy Poehler and Idina Menzel for donating their time and talents. We thank the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, for inspiring us and for reminding us that our students can dream big and go far. And we thank everyone who supported the event through sponsorships, ads, ticket purchases, and donations.”

The evening raised $350,000, and all proceeds will go to the school’s 135th Anniversary Student Diversity Fund, which will provide scholarships to UCLA Lab School students, Silva said.

For photos from the event, click through the image galleries below.

To contribute to the 135th Anniversary Student Diversity Fund, contact Sanam K. Smith, UCLA Lab School Director of Development and Alumni Engagement, at 310.825.1996, or make a gift online.

Read more about the 135th Anniversary celebration in the UCLA Newsroom and UCLA Ed&IS Ampersand.

All photos by Todd Cheney / UCLA

The 135th Anniversary Celebration began with tours of the school, including the new iSTEAM Lab, a refurbished Gregg G. Juárez Community Hall, the Gonda Family Library and classrooms (Click through the slideshow for additional photos)

UCLA Lab School community members and guests gathered in the Redwood Forest for hors d’oeuvres and catching up with friends (Click through the slideshow for additional photos)

The blacktop playground was transformed for the evening, as guests enjoyed a special a farm-to-table dinner and a program honoring UCLA Lab School’s 135-year history, celebrating the school’s current work and looking toward the future (Click through the slideshow for additional photos)