The 15th annual History Banquet is scheduled for Thursday, May 30 at the Bali Hai restaurant's event center from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and funding has been more difficult than ever to secure. The innovative event honors achievement, recognizes student efforts, encourages them to serve the community and love history.
History at PLHS is not of the "read a chapter, take a test" type but rather an ongoing series of critical reading, thinking activities and experiences designed to make the subject come to life. And students respond.
Fifteen years ago, when popular teacher Patrick McElhaney conceived the event, it was the only one of its kind in San Diego County. Since then, several schools have copied the idea.
Selected students have displayed excellent scholarship, character, leadership, athletics, arts and ethics.
The awards and scholarships given out are simple. McElhaney has tried to give each student a Cross pen and financial scholarships given by community groups are modest. But McElhaney and his colleagues are passionate about honoring their students.
These awards for the past 14 years have been given to more than 2,000 students with scholarships and small awards totaling $25,000.
Over the years, McElhaney and the social science department teachers at PLHS have honored students for their achievements and outstanding performances in such diverse activities as conducting trials in a San Diego Superior Court room, registering voters, working in election precincts, role-playing and dressing as countless historical figures, taking place in debates over issues facing the United States and recreating battle scenes from the Civil War in rural settings.
Numerous local clubs attend the banquets to present checks to top achievers including The City Club, The Democratic Club of Point Loma, The Republican Party of San Diego, The Democratic Club of San Diego, The San Diego Foundation, The Pointer Association and numerous law firms with students in PLHS history classes.
McElhaney's colleagues include Mike Estanol, Lisa Gavender, Mariana Hedges, Heather Janiak, Vivian Love, Ron Moss and Glenn Richard. Groups, organizations and individuals wishing to support the History Banquets are urged to contact McEahaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.