The event, sponsored by the Rotary Club of La Jolla, was created to raise money for a college scholarship program for students at The Bishop's School, La Jolla Country Day School, the Preuss School and La Jolla High, according to Cal Mann, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla.
"It's a real partnership," Mann said. "We work very closely with the students to make them aware that it's an opportunity for them. They really picked up on the opportunity and are really involved "” all the schools are."
The talent show brought in about $120,000 last year, and the club is hoping to clear $200,000 at this year's event, Mann said.
A focus on youth and education has been a big part of the Rotary Club's fund-raising efforts over the last five years. The group gives away about 100 college scholarships a year, according to Mann.
Several rotary clubs from throughout the nation have contacted the La Jolla group to discover its key to success with fund-raising, according to Mann. When it first started, the organization was pulling in $15,000 but had stepped things up since then, he said.
The Rotary Club of La Jolla recognizes a large need for financial assistance within La Jolla schools "” including close to 100 percent of students at Preuss School, 40 percent from La Jolla High School and 10 to 15 percent from Bishop's and La Jolla Country Day.
"The perception that if you go to school in La Jolla then you don't need any help is not borne out by the reality," Mann said. "A lot of kids get into good schools but can't attend because they don't have the money."
Patricia Lynch, a member of the Rotary of La Jolla and a parent of two La Jolla High School students, has been involved for the last seven months in organizing the event.
Lynch, who has been a part of the program since its inception, said the rotary has raised $500,000 toward student scholarships over the past five years.
Of a combined 4,200 students from all four schools, close to 200 have been selected through a four-day audition process to display their talents for the community, she said. Students have been working on their acts for the show since they were selected in November.
"We never even knew this was going to take off like this "” that this was going to be something that people were going to embrace," Lynch said. "We had such a great response from the kids, and it's the kids who drive us to do it the next year."
The show has morphed from being an all-inclusive chance for all students to participate into a more refined showing of the most talented musicians and performers from each school, Lynch said.
This year, the rotary club was able to secure guest Ian Campbell, the general and artistic director of the San Diego Opera, as master of ceremonies, which is an enormous honor for the rotary and the schools, according to Lynch.
For Mann, the most impressive part of the event is watching the student performances and knowing that his organization will help many of them continue to excel, he said.
"This is a way to reach out to the community and do something really substantial, which is what we're all about," Mann said.
The Rotary Club of La Jolla is one of 60 rotary organizations in San Diego. For more information about rotary club scholarships, visit www.rotarycluboflajolla.com.
"Stars in Our Eyes" will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, at the University of California, San Diego, in the Mandeville Theater. Tickets are $25 general admission, $10 for students.
To purchase tickets for the Stars in Our Eyes event, or for more information, call Amanda Stalder of the Rotary of La Jolla, (858) 551-3226.