From left: Phil Owens, 2012 Grapes for Grad scholarship recipient, LCAD student Charity Oetgen and Jeff Redeker attend the annual Grapes for Grads event Sunday. (Chris Berg, Coastline Pilot / May 2, 2013)

Americans say "Bottoms up" when they hoist a few.

The French toast is "A votre Sante." When Italians raise a glass they say "Salute" or "Cin Cin," their version of a Brit's "Cheers." In India it is "Tulleho," a combination the Raj "Talley Ho" and the colloquial Hindi word for drinking. My favorite: the Zulu "Ooogy Wawa."

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach deserves every one of them for the successful Grapes for Grads fundraiser held on Sunday at Tivoli Too!, which showed off Laguna's community spirit to great advantage.

Proceeds will fund eight scholarships: four for Laguna Beach High School graduating seniors and four for Laguna College of Art & Design students.

"We probably will have raised $30,000 when everything is collected — and the crowd was up," said John Campbell, club president, event committee member and sponsor. "The nice thing is it is growing. We are already looking forward to next year."

When Grapes for Grads started in 2005, only a few wineries participated, but it was so successful the organizers, which included 2013 co-chairs Steven Dotorotos and Jeff Redeker, decided to make it an annual event.

Since then, more than $80,000 in scholarships has been distributed.

The focus is on students who show excellence in academics or art and a strong commitment to the community and might otherwise lack the resources to achieve their educational goals.

Last year: LCAD students Geanna Anstey, Benjamin D. Gibson, Charity Oetgen and Emalyn Tringali received scholarships.

"For me and most every college student I know, the hardest thing about college isn't all the work we do for our classes; it is paying for everything," Tringali wrote in her thank you note to the club. "From groceries to art supplies to tuition, life is a lot more expensive than I can afford on my own."

LCAD President Jonathan Burke said Grapes for Grads makes a big difference to students who need some financial aid.

"It's a wonderful event and the college is very appreciative," Burke said. "Last year, almost $14,000 went to the college."

Laguna Beach Unified School District Supt. Shereen Smith stated that the young people of Laguna Beach are truly fortunate to be served by the local Rotary Club.

"Thank you for helping me fund my education and giving me the opportunity to help add to this world," wrote Macklin Thornton, one of the 2012 high school scholarship recipients.

Thornton is double majoring in history and political science at UC Berkeley and intends to go to law school to study constitutional law.

Scholarships were also awarded last year to LBHS graduates Hannah Johns, Kate McMahon and Caroline Cannan, daughter of retired city Community Services Director Susan Cannan.

Ticket sales and proceeds from the silent auction and opportunity prizes fund the scholarships.

More than $20,000 in services and items were donated this year, said Veronica Nice, owner of Nice Touch Chiropractic who has chaired the auction for six years.

As usual many local restaurants contributed gift certificates, including [370 Common], Hennessey's, Claes Restaurant, La Sirena, the White House and Chris Keller's K'ya and Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, which also donated to a collection of T-shirts from other local watering holes such as the Marine Room and the Sandpiper.

Artists John Eagle and Scott Moore and glass blower John Barber donated art pieces. Meg Monahan and event committee member Marge Earl gave handmade quilts. One of Kim Salter's hand-knit shawls was also up for bid. Tickets to the Festival of Arts, Laguna Beach Live!, Laguna Playhouse and the Sawdust Tickets were part of the booty.