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Aviation companies donate hangar for L.A. Unified School District event

The Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE) of the Los Angeles Unified School District today announced that Curt Castagna, president and CEO of Aeroplex/Aerolease Group, and Tony Marlow, vice president of Castle & Cooke Aviation, have donated a 10,000-square-foot hangar at Van Nuys Airport as the venue for its Oct. 27 SkillsUSA fundraiser.

Valued at $25,000, the donation will provide an exciting location for the event that will raise money to help DACE students compete in SkillsUSA competitions.

DACE educates students and prepares them for post-secondary studies, careers and civic participation. The regional, state and national SkillsUSA competitions align with this mission, providing Career Technical Education students with the opportunity to demonstrate personal, workplace and technical skills.

To enable more students to participate in these events, DACE is hosting its first-ever fundraiser, with the theme "Thrills for Skills." The social event will be held 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 27, at the Castle & Cooke Aviation hangar, 7356 Havenhurst Ave., Van Nuys.

"SkillsUSA provides students with valuable exposure to real-world skills and employer expectations," said DACE Executive Director Joseph Stark. "The costs associated with this program can be a barrier, as students must travel within the state and out of the state for the competitions.

"We truly appreciate the support of Aeroplex/Aerolease Group and Castle & Cooke Aviation. Without this donation, it would be cost-prohibitive for DACE to put together an event of this size at such a unique facility," he said.

Elizabeth Penuela, assistant principal at North Valley Occupational Center, secured the donation and the support of Van Nuys Airport with the assistance of airport Manager Flora Margheritis.

"It is great to see how passionate and committed the Van Nuys Airport Association is to students across the San Fernando Valley," Ms. Penuela said.

"This donation comes in the perfect time - when students need to be able to showcase how well-prepared they are as future skilled workers ready to successfully enter today's workforce," said Elsa Madrid, the center's principal and co-chair of the SkillsUSA Fundraising Planning Committee.

For information, contact: Laura Chardiet, 213-241-3150 Elizabeth Penuela, 818-235-4444