The Westchester community is mourning the loss of William “Bill” Smith, the administrator and principal of Westchester Lutheran School, who passed away Saturday, June 4th, following a long battle with cancer.

Smith was elected to serve as the education representative on the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa del Rey in the Neighborhood Council’s first election and had served as the top administrator of the school for the past ten years.

He was a member of the Westchester Lutheran Church for 42 years and during that time served as president, treasurer, choir member, Sunday school teacher, and day school chairman.

A public memorial service will be held in remembrance of Smith at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, June 12th, at Westchester Lutheran Church, 7831 Sepulveda Blvd., Westchester.

LAXCEPTIONAL STUDENTS — There are more than just airplanes soaring over Westchester, Inglewood and El Segundo.

There are also plenty of students in airport-area schools whose achievements have them soaring academically.

Now, Los Angeles World Airports — the City of Los Angeles agency that operates city airports, including Los Angeles International Airport — has recognized these outstanding students through its new LAXceptional Student Program, which recognizes students from kindergarten through 12th grade for exemplary efforts and/or achievements in any pursuit.

LAWA has made it a goal to identify and acknowledge those students who “fly high” in their academic work or other areas of interest and inspire them to continue their success.

On Tuesday, June 7th, and Wednesday, June 8th, 40 students and their parents and principals, attended a celebration party hosted by Los Angeles World Airports.

At the celebration, held at the Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California, all LAXceptional students were presented with a certificate and congratulatory letter that recognized their accomplishments and extended Los Angeles World Airports’ best wishes for success in all future endeavors.

To qualify for the honor, a student must have read the most books in a schoolwide reading program, won a PTA art contest, or achieved distinction in a regional, state or national competition.

In addition, a student who has earned distinction in music, art, drama, volunteer work, community involvement, athletics or a civic activity was also eligible.

The following students from the Westchester/Playa del Rey area were honored as LAXceptional students:

Loyola Village Elementary School; Zachary Robinson and Olimpia Blanco, both in the fifth grade;

Marina del Rey Performing Arts Magnet; Maurice Sweeney and Teresa Lincoln, both in the eighth grade;

Open Magnet Charter School; Jennifer Mann and Tyler Cass, both in the fifth grade;

Paseo del Rey Elementary School; Max Besterman, fifth grade;

St. Bernard High School; Nicol Robinson, 11th grade, and Christopher Ceballos, 12th grade;

Visitation School; Meylan Laner, eighth grade;

Westchester High School; Melissa Crandall and John Lear, both in the 11th grade;

Westport Heights Elementary School; Chelsey Taylor Vaughn and Steven Hernandez, both in the fifth grade; and

Westchester Lutheran School; Amber Gomez, fifth grade.

Congratulations to all of these outstanding students.

TOWN HALL MEETING — Congresswoman Maxine Waters will host a Westchester Town Hall meeting from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 16th, focusing on Social Security, at Loyola Marymount University Ahmanson Auditorium in University Hall 1000, 1 LMU Drive, Westchester.

The event is free, and the public is invited.