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Les Tupper Awards to honor community volunteers

Diverse group of people, organizations will be honored by Coordinating Council.

May 09, 2012|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com
  • Award winners Jack Johnson, from left, Barbara Weber,Kathryn Battaglia, Susan Azad, Randy Strapazon and Alex Keledjian pose for the camera in front of the Valley Sun office. Contestants won the Les Tupper Awards for community service.
Award winners Jack Johnson, from left, Barbara Weber,Kathryn… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

A horse lover who has helped form the city’s network of trails, the staff sergeant for a food pantry, and a student who helped build a library for others are among the volunteers to be honored Monday by the La Cañada Flintridge Coordinating Council.

The council’s annual Les Tupper Awards will be presented Monday night at Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s von Karman Auditorium. The award is named for the former La Cañada Unified School District member and longtime La Cañada cheerleader Les Tupper, who was considered “Mr. Volunteer Community Service,” acccording to coordinating council member Chuck Sambar.

This year’s winners include Girl Scout and state PTA volunteer Kathryn Battaglia; fellow high schooler, civic and political volunteer Alex Keledjian; longtime trail and school supporter Randy Strapazon; Barbara Weber, Assistance League leader and self-described “bread chair” of St. Bede the Venerable’s food giveaway efforts; the Flintridge Riding Club; and the La Cañada Baseball/Softball Assn.

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Battaglia, a junior at La Cañada High School, is spending this week with 3,000 like-minded people at a statewide PTA conference in Sacramento, leading an effort to increase student involvement in the organization led by parents and teachers.

“In order for them to get the most out of what they are doing, they have to have students’ perspective,” Battaglia said.

Separately, Battaglia and her friend Samantha Smith raised $7,000 to revamp a library as a Girl Scout project for students in an impoverished part of Los Angeles. Smith was in charge of improving the structure, Battaglia said, while Battaglia acquired bins, benches and reading material, then catalogued 50,000 books by reading level.

Fellow La Cañada High student Alex Keledjian is treasurer of the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club and is a member of the city’s Youth Council. Keledjian said one of his goals on the council — and an effort he will continue when his term ends later this year — is to launch an internship program allowing students to work with city government officials and in the schools, as well as with private businesses.

Like others who received the award, Keledjian said he was shocked.

“There are lot of people in this community who have done more than I have,” he said.

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