NCL del Norte Chapter holds Senior Recognition Ceremony and Dinner Dance


The San Diego del Norte Chapter of the National Charity League celebrated its graduating high school seniors on March 4 at the annual Senior Recognition Ceremony and Dinner Dance which took place at the La Jolla Torrey Pines Hilton. The formal event is a time-honored tradition of NCL, honoring the graduating “Ticktockers” upon completion of the NCL six-year program. The NCL Class of 2023 girls recognized for their service were Paulina Alessio, Paulina Bortnak, Alexandra Brewer, Celerina Chao, Camryn Cleary, Angie Cooper, Lauren Cox, Katherine Donnelly, Devyn Dudek, Grace Flanagan, Katherine Griffitts, Sophia Insogna, Sienna Kotsay, Kaija Kudirka, Gabrielle Labelle, Lyle LaRocca, Natalie Licosati, Lucy Loretta, Lauren Mihalik, Rylee Olson, Caitlin Ruh, Catherine Schnell, Kathryn Silva, and Dillan Yee.

The graduating class represented nine local high schools including Santa Fe Christian, Francis Parker, Cathedral Catholic, The Bishop’s School, La Costa Canyon, Torrey Pines, Pacific Ridge, High Bluff Academy, and Canyon Crest Academy.

Lilia Valerie played the violin inside the beautifully-appointed ballroom as guests made their way in from the ocean-view veranda. Once seated, event Chair Kim Baglio greeted all in attendance and introduced emcee Debbie Rider, chapter past president, who got the evening under way.

Each senior Ticktocker was individually presented on the stage in a traditional white dress ceremony that included a tribute to the girls’ mothers with whom the Ticktockers completed six years of community service and leadership projects. Together, the 24 young women of the 2023 Ticktocker class, along with their mothers, volunteered over 7,000 hours during the course of six years. Special awards were presented to several Ticktockers, including the “Yellow Rosebud Award” awarded for 50 hours in combined philanthropy hours to Paulina Bortnak; the “Yellow Rose Bouquet Award” awarded for 100-plus hours in one chapter philanthropy to Kathryn Silva; the “Hourglass Award” awarded for 100 combined philanthropy hours to both Kathryn Silva and Katherine Griffitts; as well as the “Lexi Dale Senior Service Award” awarded for the most philanthropic hours served during six years in NCL to Kathryn Silva (439 hours). Four mother-daughter awards for completing 25 onsite philanthropy hours together during the current chapter year were awarded to Maria & Camryn Cleary, Margaret & Katherine Griffitts, Janie & Natalie Licosati, and Kimberly & Catherine Schnell.

“Over the last six years, this very accomplished group of young ladies fulfilled all three NCL pillars. They have served hundreds of philanthropy hours, developed their leadership skills, and participated in many cultural experiences. Most importantly, they have served alongside their mothers, and strengthened that all-important mother/daughter bond” said Stephanie Kourie, president of the NCL San Diego del Norte Chapter.

Highlights of the celebratory event included sentiments from the class president, Paulina Alessio, and a video presentation of the annual Senior Philanthropy Project furnishing living spaces at the San Pasqual Academy, by Co-Chairs Grace Flanagan and Kaija Kudirka.

“I loved my time working with San Pasqual Academy! My co-chair Grace Flanagan and I led our class in designing, decorating, and furnishing two cottages for San Pasqual graduates who were transitioning from school into college or the workforce. I was inspired as I learned more about the amazing work San Pasqual does, providing a community for foster youth around the county and helping children on the path to bright futures ahead. I am so grateful to have had this experience to work with San Pasqual Academy and to have made a true impact in my community with the Class of 2023” said Kaija Kudirka who is headed to Duke University in the fall.

Following the presentations, the graduating senior Ticktockers were escorted to the dance floor by their fathers for a fox trot and line dance. The party then continued into the evening to the sounds of DJ Roman. The ceremony and dinner dance was co-chaired by Kim Baglio and Brandi Nishnick, and beautifully produced by Julie Danielson of San Diego Visual Productions. Flowers were provided by Del Mar Floral and Gifts and the event was photographed by Brant Bender Photography.

National Charity League is a nonprofit organization founded more than 50 years ago to foster the mother-daughter relationship in a philanthropic organization committed to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. The girls become members in the seventh grade and continue on through their senior year. Each year they are required to perform at least 15 hours of philanthropic work. For more information, visit —NCL Del Norte Chapter news release