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Denim & Diamonds; Burgers & Lasers

Redwood Rocks gala event raises much-needed funds for several of the high school's programs.

Denim & Diamonds; Burgers & Lasers Denim & Diamonds; Burgers & Lasers

Do you need a laser to cut that burger? I hope not, but while waiters were serving up turkey burger sliders, Richard Esteb was hoping to find a cutting tool other than a steak knife.

Esteb, who teaches applied technology at Redwood High School, was one of the stars of Saturday night's Redwood Rocks at the Corte Madera Recreation Center. The $100-a head auction and party is one of the biggest fundraisers of the year for the Redwood Foundation. Organizers have not yet announced the total amount raised at the Denim & Diamonds-themed gala.

"They better (the Foundation does), the better my chances of getting my equipment," Esteb said, "so I'm really hoping things go well."

The latest report shows the Redwood Foundation has raised nearly $300,000 toward its $600,000 goal. That money is used to pay for academic materials, science and physics equipment, scholarships and to help fund programs including music, drama and athletics.

"I'm asking for a laser cutter to cut a verity of materials, matboard and such, to make architecture models," Esteb said, noting that he has requested more than $30,000 in funds from the Redwood Foundation. Esteb is planning a series of events for his students, including an annual challenge to build a foot-powered vehicle that ends with students trying to navigate around the quad.

Esteb has inspired many of his students to pursue engineering in college and as a career.

Among the other projects the Redwood Foundation is looking at is a plan to build a larger area for students to park their bikes, part of a move toward a greener community. The Foundation is looking its supporters and to other sources for help.

"We don't really have an adequate parking area for bikes right now," said Redwood principal David Sondheim, who was busy bouncing from table to table, talking with groups of parents.

"This is a great event. A lot of people are here to show their support," he said.

Local businesses and individuals also donated items for auction, including a bottle of beer from Marin Brewing Company, bottles of win, San Francisco Giants tickets and more.

Food was provided by Brick & Bottle and Nothing Bundt Cakes to fortify the bidders before the auction really got going.

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