The Venice High School Alumni Association held its annual Honoree Dinner Saturday, November 3rd, honoring Julie Mann, Bryan Bechler and Sam Ericsson.

Julie Mann was honored for her years of volunteer service at Venice High and at the Learning Garden, which she co-founded after securing grants in 2001.

Currently, 130 Venice students participate in various programs in the Learning Garden.

It is also utilized for other activities, including yoga, tai chi and a Food Garden Class offered by UCLA Extension.

Mann has lived in the Venice area for 25 years and her two children both graduated from Venice High School.

Bechler was honored for his volunteer work, serving on multiple city recreation committees, food fundraising programs and children’s literacy program. He now lives in Washington State and is a 1980 graduate of Venice High.

Ericsson was honored as the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Advocates International, a Christian legal society dedicated to working on human rights, professional ethics and religious freedom issues around the world.

He has addressed the United Nations Human Rights Commission and participated in 50 U.S. Supreme Court briefs. He is also the 2002 winner of the Mother Teresa award presented by the President of Albania.

The dinner was held at George Petrelli’s restaurant in Culver City. Vice principal Marc Paez updated the audience on events at Venice High School and Alumni Association president Paul Belli, who presented the honorees with plaques, was master of ceremonies.

The Venice High School Alumni Association is an 80-year-old organization of alumni and friends of Venice High School.

Besides the Honoree Dinner, the Alumni Association participates in a classroom grant program, awards scholarships and elects the Homecoming Court.

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