Spirit of Excellence Gala

On March 4, 2023, Irvine Public School Foundation’s Spirit of Excellence Gala brought our community together to celebrate all that we have achieved and raise funds to support all that we can imagine is possible.

Rhea & Matt Weiss, Gala Chairs

The Spirit of Excellence Gala is the most highly anticipated event of the year and brings the community together to raise funds for Irvine public schools and students. When students have opportunities to think big and follow their dreams, amazing things can happen. The evening is a shining example of the difference we can make when we work together as a community in support of educational excellence.

Our mission to ensure educational excellence for every child is more important today than ever before. Please join us as we pay tribute to our collective commitment to what matters most – our future generation.

For questions, please contact Neda Eaton at neaton@ipsf.net

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2023 Honorees

We are excited to announce the 2023 Spirit of Excellence Award honorees:

Christian Munden Spirit of Excellence in Service 
Irvine High School, Class of 2000

Hometown hero and Irvine High School graduate, Christian Munden served 8 years in US Naval Special Operations and was among a select few Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians assigned to provide direct support to Navy SEAL teams in Afghanistan and Bahrain. Munden distinguished himself by operating at the front of more than 140 combat patrols and clearance operations leading to prestigious honors including being recognized as USO Sailor of the Year 2013.


FUTEK – Spirit of Excellence in Philanthropy

Founded in Irvine, FUTEK is an industry leader in sensor technology and high-performance robotics, and has set an example of what it means to be a leader in both business and philanthropy. For nearly a decade, FUTEK has been a generous corporate partner of Irvine Public Schools Foundation, sharing the belief that when you provide opportunities for young people to become interested in STEAM, you ensure the future of innovation.



Derrik Diza – Rising Star Award
Woodbridge High School, Class of 2012

Finding a unique way to combine his passions for art, entrepreneurship, and giving back, Derrik Diza empowers the artists he represents to create long-lasting impact in their communities. With a focus on painting murals for innovative companies and school districts across California, he also has a passion for teaching students about the art industry. His program, Mural Academy, teaches high school students the business and communications skills needed to build a sustainable career in creating art.