Press release

The STEP Foundation will host its most important fundraiser of the year, an ‘Evening Under The Stars’ dinner and auction; as the organization continues to support the educational enrichment of the students at the Round Valley Joint Elementary School.

An ‘Evening under the Stars’ is the crown jewel of STEP fundraising efforts.
The 12th annual event will be held on Saturday, May 14 at its traditional location, the Arcularius Ranch, 225 N. Round Valley Rd.

It’s the “don’t-miss” event of the Owens Valley, with a full western BBQ dinner, silent and live auctions, plus live music, all set in a spectacular outdoor setting.

At 5:00 p.m. the extravaganza will begin with a happy hour, appetizers, music from local favorite band “Last Chance” and a silent auction; then a delicious down-home dinner catered by Mammoth Mountain Catering and “Holy Smoke” Texas Style BBQ restaurant, served at 6:30, and followed by a live auction and more music at the foot of the Eastern Sierra and under the evening stars.

The Round Valley School is a special place for children to go to school, being recognized as a California Distinguished School and also a ‘School of Choice’. Established in 1871 on land donated by the Arcularius family the school serves families in both Mono and Inyo Counties. With only 130 children from kindergarten through 8th grade, the kids there truly become a family.

The Round Valley School’s Student Enrichment Program Foundation (STEP Foundation) was formed by passionate parents who wanted to enrich the educational adventure for students (and teachers). As state and county budget cuts have taken a toll on programs, equipment and staff; the STEP Foundation has supplemented the school’s budget through donations and fundraising events.

“The STEP Foundation has upgraded the school’s computer technology on an annual basis; plus provided everything from funding music and art programs, paying for a librarian, bringing in special assembly speakers and supporting classroom programs and equipment, such as a trout farm for the elementary school and dissection material for science class” said Kevin Mazzu, STEP Foundation – President.

Fundraising events generate the bulk of the donations that STEP uses. “STEP raises funds in unique ways that include event dinners, wine tastings and a holiday movie theater experience”, said Karen Marshall, principal/superintendent and STEP board member. “All funds provide educationally and developmentally enriching in-class and extracurricular opportunities that benefit Round Valley School’s students and teachers”.

“This year, we hope to reach the $250,000 mark (since STEP’s 2006 inception), with the bulk of our money coming from events like this” Marshall explained. “We want to thank the community for their ongoing support of this unique and special school”.

Tickets for this adults-only event are on sale now at $50 per guest, $90 per couple and $320 for a reserved group of eight.

STEP Board Vice-President Nick Whirl said, “A big part of living in this valley is remembering its past and educating people about the rich history that is present everywhere. The Round Valley School started as a country school house. It has a rich history and an intimate setting. It’s one of the first and best schools in the Owens Valley!”

According to, STEP honors that rich history by continuing to supplement state and local tax school funding so that students can receive “the highest quality education (by enriching) the educational adventure of students and teachers… wherever possible.”

For information about STEP, and to purchase ‘Evening under the Stars’ tickets, contact STEP Foundation board member Lis Mazzu at (760) 784-5461 or [email protected] or purchase tickets online at

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