May 24, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

RUSD’s RITZ Gala showcased the talented students and what happens when a community works together

2 min read

Photos RUSD: Victoria Fernandez, a first-grade student from Morris Elementary School, delivered a spunky and confident performance of "Into the Unknown" from the movie "Frozen 2" during the 15th Annual RITZ Gala at Eisenhower High School Performing Arts Center on February 11.

This past Saturday, Feb. 11, Rialto Unified School District (RUSD)held its annual Rialto’s Incredible Talent Zone (RITZ) Gala talent show at Eisenhower high school’s performing Arts Center. 

The RITZ is a yearly event that has run for over 15 years, but this is the first year it has been held at the performing arts center. 

As guests were arriving when doors opened at 5:30 p.m., it was easy to get lost in the glamour and shine of the entrance and sharply dressed guests. 

At the entrance, guests could be seen walking the red carpet while photographers caught photos of them. Guests also had an opportunity for a mini photoshoot in front of the RITZ’s backdrop. 

As guests got the Hollywood treatment as they entered the performing arts center, it was quickly and abundantly clear who the stars of the night were, the children. 

“The Ritz has immense meaning because it allows kids to work hard for something they’re passionate about,” said the Superintendent of Rialto Unified School District, Cuauhtemoc Avila. 

“It’s great to see their talent and help nurture those seeds,” he added.  

The evening kicked off with RITZ Gala Chairperson, Syeda Jafri taking the stage. 

“This is our Oscar night,” said Jafri as she opened the show.

Jafri continued by thanking those who came out to support and those who helped make the night possible. 

“You’ve got to thank the people that give back to you,” said Jafri. 

Avila took the stage next, where he introduced Rialto songstress Faye Coates for the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” 

“I’m older, so if I do happen to forget some of the lyrics, feel free to sing along,” said Coates.

The guests did take Coates up on her offer of singing along as she had the entire performance center singing with her. 

It was a moment of coming together for everyone, and one that highlighted the overall feel of the night.

RUSD’s Multi-media Marketing innovator, Ricardo Carlos was honored for his work in the district and with the gala.

“It took Leonardo Dicaprio 20 years to get his big academy award, and it took me 14, I think I’m in pretty good shape,” said Carlos during his acceptance speech, which ignited laughter. 

The microphone was then handed to the emcee of the night, Pepe Serna actor and motivational speaker. 

Serna took the stage with glee and little patience because he was excited to allow the kids to show their talents. 

“We’re gonna get started, because tonight, when I saw your lineup, wow, so we’re gonna take it away right now,” said Serna.  

Once the first performer Gabriela Beatriz took the stage, the rest of the night was for the children to own and shine in, which they did throughout the night. 

The show featured two acts, intermission performances and over 40 student performers. To learn more about the RITZ Gala or get involved, you can visit the RUSD website.


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