Engage in a great conversation

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By Kirsten Laskey

Who doesn’t love a great conversation? Pair it with a good meal and you have the fixings for a successful event. What luck then that the LAPS Foundation is hosting a fundraiser called Great Conversations.


Those who have a love for socializing or possess a gift for the gab are invited to the event, which will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sunday at Central Avenue Grill.   

The event features 15 speakers who will each address a different topic. Participants can choose a topic they are interested in and register for a seat at the speakers’ table.

These subjects include history, politics, money, science, environment, literature, technology and more.

Plus, participants will be served a salad, surf and turf meal, dessert and wine. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. and a dinner will be served at 8:30 p.m.  

Joanna Gillespie, LAPS Foundation executive director, said the event is “a way for us (the LAPS Foundation) to encourage life-long learning.”

Additionally, any funds that raised will help support LAPS Foundation’s projects and programs, she said.

Kristy Keane, a LAPS board of director, commented, “We have such a highly educated community that they thrive on this.

“They are interested in coming up and having a conversation and becoming educated on something they might not know a lot about.”

One of the speakers, Rev. Doug Partin of the Christian Church, will host a conversation titled, “United and Divided: America’s Faith Tribes.”

He explained it is based on George Barna’s book, “The Seven Faith Tribes.” During the conversation, Partin said they will look at a review of the United States and one of the greatest assets it has in the unity of its citizens.

Yet, it seems people lose sight of what joins them together.

The discussion will address how the country has arrived at this state and individuals should respond to this current situation.

Partin said, “We have a lot of people in the community that have varying religious beliefs and they act on these beliefs and sometimes they end up opposing one another. (The talk will focus on how to) hold on to faith and do things with one another.”

Pat Soran, a retired nuclear engineer from Los Alamos National Laboratory, will present “So What’s this Retirement Thing?”

During his talk, Soran will address what is in store for those who leave the workforce.

Topics include what constitutes a good retirement as well as financial, health and lifestyle plans.

Soran said he was asked to cover this subject “on the basis that I had an A- plus in retirement. They said I am a poster child for retirement.”

They may cover different topics but Soran and Partin are excited to be a part of this fundraiser for the LAPS Foundation.

“I am excited because it is a neat way to get the community involved in the LAPS Foundation.

It is a way to meet people who are supportive of the school and to talk with people,” Soran said.

Partin said, “It’s a fundraiser for our schools and we have a good school system with a lot of needs … some of these projects need to be funded and this is just a good way and fun way to fund our schools.”

The fee to attend the event is $60 per person. To register, go to the LAPS Foundation at www.lapsfoundation.com/greatconversations.shtml.

According to the Web site, the foundation’s mission is to enrich students’ educational experience through community investment.

For more information, call Gillespie at 470-3734.