Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership celebrates schools and advisor for youth development efforts

Students and staff associated with the Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership attended the program’s annual Chapter Recognition Ceremony at Solis Park School in Irvine on May 21.

The Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership celebrated three schools and one advisor Tuesday at its annual Chapter Recognition Ceremony at Solis Park School in Irvine, commending their exceptional contributions to youth development and substance abuse prevention initiatives.

The partnership — sometimes referred to as OCFNLP — empowers young people to lead alcohol and drug prevention campaigns and engage in community service projects. Through their involvement, students develop leadership, communication, team-building and problem-solving skills. 

Friday Night Live logo

The program operates on three levels: There are Friday Night Live chapters for high school students, Club Live groups for middle schoolers, and Friday Night Live Kids chapters for upper-elementary students. With guidance from advisors, these groups either function as clubs on school campuses or are connected to community organizations.

This year’s Chapter Excellence Award recipients are the FNL chapters at La Quinta and Magnolia high schools, along with the Friday Night Live Kids chapter over at Pendleton Elementary School. Tony Perez, the FNL Kids advisor at Hayden Elementary School, received the Advisor Excellence Award for his outstanding dedication and leadership.

Established in 1992, OCFNLP is administered by the Orange County Department of Education and funded by the OC Health Care Agency’s Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team, or ADEPT. 

Here’s a closer look at this year’s honorees:

Chapter Excellence Award Recipients

La Quinta High School, Friday Night Live

Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership Chapter Recognition Ceremony

The FNL chapter at La Quinta High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District has shown tremendous growth this past year.

The club, led by its student leaders, has demonstrated a commitment to substance use prevention that goes well beyond targeting the students at their school. Their campus activities included Red Ribbon Week, World Mental Health Day and a campaign for Alcohol Awareness Month where the student body was invited to sign Casey’s Pledge, a commitment to not drinking alcohol or getting in the car with an impaired driver. In addition, they used social media to educate their peers about the science of drug use and addiction among youth during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. 

La Quinta High School FNL also targeted their prevention efforts toward parents and caregivers by providing a youth perspective on alcohol and other drug use prevention at a parent education workshop. The chapter has formed partnerships with local feeder schools, facilitating activities and leading discussions on the importance of making positive health choices and decisions. The club is led by science teacher Debra Lowry and averages 15 members at their weekly lunchtime meetings.

Magnolia High School, Friday Night Live

Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership Chapter Recognition Ceremony

The FNL chapter at Magnolia High School in the Anaheim Union High School District is a well-established and active club on campus.

This year, Magnolia High’s executive board of student leaders set out to make a bigger impact, and their hard work paid off. Comprising 40 general members, the club meets at lunch and during Saturday Academy. Magnolia FNL has thrived from strong student leadership, dedicated advisors, partnerships with other clubs and its connection with Dale Junior High School.

When it comes to planning their prevention activities, Magnolia FNL board members and committee chairs lead small groups to ensure all students have the opportunity to contribute. The activities Magnolia FNL members have completed this year include presenting a youth perspective on substance use prevention at a parent training, providing a leadership training on “Exploring the Future” for Dale Junior High School students, hosting a beach clean-up at Bolsa Chica State Beach — they hosted activities and presentations on the impact of waste and tobacco use on the environment — and, of course, Red Ribbon Week.

A key to Magnolia High School FNL’s success is collaboration with other clubs, which allows members to reach more students and provide opportunities to earn community service credits. The Magnolia High School FNL club is led by advisors Cynthia Ting, a special Education teacher; and Allen Sherman, a P.E. teacher.

Pendleton Elementary School, Friday Night Live Kids

Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership Chapter Recognition Ceremony

Pendleton FNL Kids is in its inaugural year as a chapter and is led by advisor and school counselor Desarie Reynosa.

The Pendleton FNL Kids student leaders, who meet twice a month after school, have brought creativity and enthusiasm to promoting healthy habits on their campus. Despite being new to this program, these highly motivated upper-elementary students have elevated their club with energy and great ideas. Pendleton FNL Kids has completed several projects, each designed to encourage their peers and school community to lead healthier lives.

The activities included Red Ribbon Week and a school dance, where they incorporated prevention games and led discussions on the importance of healthy habits. The group also visited lower grade levels to read books focused on social-emotional learning. They held discussions about managing emotions and discussed their participation in FNL Kids. In addition, these motivated student leaders designed and implemented activities for Random Acts of Kindness Week to support building a positive school climate and culture.

Advisor Excellence Award Recipient

Tony Perez, FNL Kids Advisor, Hayden Elementary School

Tony Perez, an educational specialist at Hayden Elementary School in the Westminster School District, has served as an FNL Kids advisor for 25 years.

He began his FNL Kids journey at Clegg Elementary School and brought the program with him as he transitioned to new schools within the district, including Schmitt Elementary School, Johnson Middle School, Warner Middle School and now Hayden Elementary School. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Perez has consistently demonstrated a commitment to empowering young people by fostering a club culture where every voice is valued and every idea matters.

His approach has cultivated an environment where members feel respected and equally involved in the decision-making process. One of the ways Mr. Perez enhances member engagement is by creating opportunities for younger students to serve as club officers. Students have the opportunity to create agendas, lead meetings and submit monthly reports to OCDE. These responsibilities contribute to developing leadership and life skills that are useful to students as they transition to the next level in their education. 

“One of the many reasons I choose to be an FNL Kids advisor is to provide students with opportunities to support their next level of education,” Perez said, “and help them gain and incorporate skills to be a successful person today, tomorrow and in the future.”

For more information about the Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership, contact OCDE Coordinator Elke Petras at 714-966-4458 or