May 28, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

RITZ Gala to Showcase J.J. Fad Homecoming, Incredible RUSD Student Talent

4 min read

Simpson Elementary School students perform at the RITZ Gala 2023. Please join the Rialto Unified School District at the RITZ at the 17th Annual RITZ Student Gala Fundraiser on Saturday, April 27 at Carter High School. This year's RITZ will feature more than a dozen talented RUSD students performing along with a homecoming performance from J.J. Fad, who are proud alumni of the District.

An evening of glitz, glamor, and boundless student talent and one huge homecoming performance awaits at the Rialto Unified School District’s 17th Annual RITZ Student Gala Fundraiser on Saturday, April 27.

This year’s RITZ Gala will be held at the majestic Wilmer Amina Carter High School Theatre Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is poised to dazzle audiences with a star-studded lineup featuring none other than the iconic Grammy nominate hip-hop group, J.J. Fad, who will perform alongside DJ Arabian Prince. This is a special homecoming for the talented hip-hop trio as J.J. Fad are proud alumni of the District, having graduated from Eisenhower High School.

Tickets are selling fast, but are currently on sale at General admission tickets are available for $35 per seat or premiere seating for $100. Children under the age of 5 are admitted free of charge.

This event promises an unforgettable showcase of the District’s most exceptional student talent while supporting a noble cause. At the forefront of the Gala’s lineup are the brilliant student performers from RUSD, whose talents span a myriad of disciplines, from captivating vocalists to an engaging poet and a mesmerizing gymnast and everything in between. The evening will be emceed by Marcelino “Mars” Serna from San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.

More than just a showcase of talent, the RITZ Gala is a celebration of community spirit and philanthropy. Hosted appetizers will tantalize taste buds, creating an ambiance of conviviality and camaraderie. As attendees mingle and revel in the festivities, they will have the opportunity to participate in the spectacular Ritz Silent Auction Baskets, featuring an array of enticing baskets waiting to be claimed.

Behind the glitz and glamor lies a profound purpose – to support the aspirations and dreams of RUSD students and families. Through the Sharing Our Love Foundation, proceeds from the Gala will directly contribute to initiatives to support students. Every ticket purchased and every bid placed in the auction is a tangible investment in the future of the RUSD community. The event has raised more than $500,000 throughout its history.

The members of J.J. Fad are set to make their return to the Rialto Unified School District where they grew up. J.J. Fad, an iconic hip-hop group, rose to prominence in the late 1980s with their groundbreaking hit single “Supersonic.” The classic track earned them a nomination for the first-ever Best Rap Performance Grammy award in 1989.

Comprised of members Juana Burns (MC J.B.), Dania Birks (Baby-D), and Michelle Franklin (Sassy C), J.J. Fad made history as one of the first all-female rap groups to achieve mainstream success. Their innovative sound captivated audiences worldwide, earning them widespread acclaim. “Supersonic” became a chart-topping sensation, reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988 and solidifying J.J. Fad’s status as pioneers and hometown heroes.

Excitement is building for the 17th Annual RITZ Gala! Staff and volunteers from the Rialto Unified School District are working hard to prepare for this outstanding showcase of student talent at Carter High School. Pictured from left to right: Michael Ricker, Warehouse Supervisor, Edith Ortiz Torres, Communications and Media Technician, Emilio Fernandez, Maintenance Foreman, and Shawn Cuttress, Assistant Agent of Maintenance and Operations, who were on hand during a recent RITZ rehearsal at Carter High School.

More recently, the group has been recognized for the impact they had as pioneers in hip-hop. The singer and Black Eye Peas member Fergie brought the group’s sound to a new generation while sampling “Supersonic” for her hit 2006 song “Fergalicious.” Locally, the group had a street — J.J. Fad Way — in Rialto dedicated in their honor in 2022. The honor was spearheaded by San Bernardino Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. (also an Eisenhower High School graduate).

During the street dedication ceremony, the group stated: “Rialto raised us in the most amazing way. We attended elementary, junior high, and high school in Rialto, and this is where the group was formed. If it weren’t for the positive influences in our lives from teachers to family to coaches, etc., this would not have been possible. We are proud to hail from Rialto and are so thankful for this honor.”

DJ Arabian Prince is a trailblazing DJ, producer, a founding member of the legendary hip-hop group N.W.A, and helped produce J.J. Fad. Alongside N.W.A., he recently earned a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award after helping to break boundaries as he helped create the sound of the West Coast rap scene.

Together, J.J. Fad and DJ Arabian Prince bring a wealth of talent, experience, and innovation to the stage, making them the perfect headliners for the RITZ Gala.

Additionally, each year, the RITZ honors a long-time Gala volunteer for dedicating countless hours of service with the Top Hat Award. Armando Urteaga was selected as the Top Hat recipient. Urteaga, who began his career in the RUSD as an assistant principal, over a decade ago, joined the RITZ Gala Committee 15 years ago as a volunteer. The former principal from Kolb and Jehue middle schools, is now a Lead Agent of Personnel Services in the District.

As the curtains rise on the 17th Annual RITZ Gala, the stage is set for an evening of enchantment and inspiration. Whether you’re a supporter of the arts, a champion of education, wanting to purchase beautiful Silent Auction baskets, or simply seeking an evening of entertainment, The RITZ welcomes you with open arms.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of this extraordinary event – purchase your tickets today and prepare to be dazzled at The RITZ Gala, where student talent shines bright and communities come together in harmony.


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