Back to Top


Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announces year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has announced the nonprofit’s year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign, highlighting the impact of the Club and how trained youth development professionals help kids reach their full potential. 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is asking the community to help more kids begin a great future with a tax-deductible year-end gift today as part of its year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign. This special drive offers the general public the opportunity to contribute to the life-changing programs the Club offers to children and teens in Laguna Beach and its surrounding area.

Boys an Girls kids

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of B&GCLB Facebook

Students enjoying a fun day in the life of the Boys & Girls Club of LB

“Day in and day out, our Boys & Girls Club staff and mentors deliver quality experiences that make a difference in a youth’s life beyond their time at the Club. Research shows that kids who have an optimal experience at our Club are also more likely to have positive self-esteem, volunteer, and be engaged in school,” said Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

“Our year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign is a special time when we ask the community to contribute to the amazing impact our Club has on the lives of kids and teens,” comments Pam. 

A ballerina, astronaut or an all-star athlete, if a kid can dream it they can become it at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, with the community’s help. Pam adds, “Any donation – big or small – will make a difference! We thank all donors for helping us build a stronger community, and we couldn’t do our work on behalf of the children without their continued support.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach service area includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest and the surrounding communities, and occupies three sites in Laguna Beach: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch and Lang Branch. Together, they offer a nationally recognized and award-winning year-round out-of-school enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. 

From preschool to parenting classes, the Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. Being an indispensable asset to the families of our community is a Boys & Girls Club time-honored tradition. For over 60 years, the Boys & Girls Club strives to support the youth of Laguna Beach through out of school recreation that celebrates the whole child.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach or to make a donation, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org or call (949) 494-2535.


Thurston Middle School WEB leaders build and deliver bikes to shelter in Tustin

On Friday, Nov 30, 60 WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) leaders from Thurston Middle School (TMS) had the unique experience of building bikes together as a leadership team, but it didn’t stop there. 

Principal of Thurston, Jenny Salberg, says, “This bonding experience culminated in our students having the positive opportunity to hand-deliver the bikes to the Village of Hope in Tustin. After dropping off the bikes, our WEB leaders were given a tour of the facility and were able to see firsthand this incredible shelter.”

Thurston bike

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Thurston WEB leaders built bikes together to deliver to the Village of Hope

Located on a decommissioned military base in Tustin, the Village of Hope is a 262-bed transitional housing program for homeless men, women, and children. Opened in March 2008, the Village of Hope is unlike any other homeless shelter in the nation. This development is meticulously manicured, tastefully decorated, and boasts more than 150,000 square feet of structures including two restored barracks, set on five acres.

WEB is a middle school orientation and transition program that welcomes 6th/7th graders and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of their middle school experience. Built on the belief that students can help students succeed, the program trains mentors from 8th grade classes to be WEB Leaders.

Thurston kids

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

WEB leadership team with Principal Salberg and Mark Seransie in back row

As positive role models, WEB Leaders are mentors and student leaders who guide the 6th/7th graders to discover what it takes to be successful during the transition to middle school and help facilitate their success.

Principal Salberg says, “We are grateful for PTA’s continued support that allowed us to provide this unique activity today, and we are looking forward to sharing our experiences with all of our TMS students on Wednesday, Dec 12th. We are also so grateful for the two parents who supported this event: Paul Porter, owner of Elev8, and Mark Seransie who connected us with the rescue mission.” 

Paul Porter donated gear to all 70 plus children.


Up and Out: LBHS students getting their pilot licenses

By Katharina Schmidt, LBHS student

In partnership with Brush & Palette newspaper

While some students have their heads in the clouds during class, other students literally soar among the clouds in their free time. LBHS seniors Eden Pfanner and Phoebe Radisay have been working hard to soon obtain their pilot’s licenses. 

“When I found out that teenagers could get their pilot’s license, I immediately wanted to get on it,” said Pfanner. “Ever since I was younger, I’ve been fascinated by aviation. My grandfather was involved with aerospace, which inspired me to get involved too. The idea of getting my pilot’s license has been in my mind since the start of high school, but the Aviation ROP I took my junior year really pushed me to get started with flight training.”

Phoebe Radisay, on the other hand, decided to get her license last May and began her flight training subsequently that July. She is now looking forward to becoming a commercial pilot in the future and is working hard to get there. 

“I was inspired to become a pilot when I took an off-campus aviation class that made me realize being a pilot was a viable and exciting career option,” said Radisay. “My first flight was amazing and further inspired me to get my license. Recently, I had my first solo flight where I flew without my instructor and successfully took off, flew, and landed at John Wayne Airport three times in a row.”

Eden Pfanner is 17 years old and Phoebe Radisay just turned 18. Seventeen is the minimum age to be able to receive a pilot’s license. You have to at least be 16 years old to be able to fly. You must also be able to read, speak and understand English in order to obtain a license. There are different types of certificates, including a private pilot’s license or a sport pilot’s certificate. Which certificate you choose to earn depends on why you want to fly.

Up and Radisay

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Tony Verderame

Phoebe Radisay trains at Orange Country Flight Center

“I’m working towards my private license, but I plan on skipping my sport license,” said Pfanner.

A sport pilot certificate is for flying smaller planes, mostly two-seater planes. You can only fly short distances and when the weather is good. It is more for fun and as a hobby. With the private pilot license, you are able to fly long distances and fly regardless of bad weather, opening up more opportunities. 

“My connection to planes and aviation is through my own love of flight and through studying to be a pilot,” said Radisay. 

Every pilot flies for a different reason.

“I love being high in the air, and I have a connection with planes because of my interest that started at a young age,” said Pfanner. 

Smaller planes provide a particularly strong connection between the pilot and the aircraft. The smaller planes give several different experiences that larger planes do not.

“I really like sport planes because you really get the feeling of the plane. When you’re in a big jet, it doesn’t really feel like you’re flying. But when you’re in a small plane, you can feel the effect and control,” said Pfanner. 

Eden Pfanner goes to the flight school Sunrise Aviation in Newport Beach at John Wayne Airport. Around five other flight schools are using this airport; among those schools are the Orange County Flight Center where Phoebe Radisay is having her flight training. 

It could take a committed individual roughly 6 to 12 months to get a pilot’s license, but the amount of time one spends on flight training influences the duration of the process of the license. 

“I am on a track to get my license before I graduate high school,” said Radisay.

Up and Pfanner

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Greg Farnes

Eden Pfanner has been gaining experience at Sunrise Aviation

There are a lot of differences, but also similarities, between a pilot’s license and a driver’s license. 

“They’re pretty similar in that there is a written test and a test where you actually drive the car or fly the plane. But the difference is that you have to be able to pass the written test before you can actually drive, but for planes, you can do them simultaneously. So you can fly while you study for the written test. I think you can get more done in a quicker amount of time for flying than for driving,” said Pfanner. 

Radisay acknowledges the added emphasis on mechanics when learning to fly.

The process for becoming a pilot is very different from getting your driver’s license. Everything you learn is through an instructor or on your own through meticulous studying. One thing people don’t expect going into flying is that you have to frequently study for flights, so you are familiar with what maneuvers you will attempt and how the airplane functions from the engine to the breaks,” said Radisay.

Flight training, in general, enriches one’s life in many ways. Pilots adopt to new ways of speaking and navigating and surely have become more worldly as a result of lifting off the earth with such regularity.

Stu News Laguna is proud to feature LBHS students’ writing in partnership with the high school’s journalism class and the Brush & Palette student newspaper.


LBUSD seeks parent, staff and community input in Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey

The Laguna Beach Unified School District is currently administering of the 2018-19 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey to gather feedback on the implementation of the district goals and state priorities, in partnership with Hanover Research.

Each school district in California must develop an LCAP that describes the school district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals. 

LBUSD seeks bushes

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The community’s input in the survey is crucial for the district

The LCAP must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities and must demonstrate how the district’s budget will help achieve the goals. Each year, strategies are assessed to determine how effectively they were able to improve student outcomes. 

“The input and feedback we receive from our community partners through our annual LCAP survey is a crucial part of providing our stakeholders with a voice in district planning to ensure that programs and services meet the unique needs of the community,” said Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Chad Mabery. 

Parent, staff, and community input via the survey accessible here is vital to the development of data-informed goals and the evaluation of outcomes. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and will remain open until December 7. School site meetings will be held to review survey data specific to each school site once the survey has closed.


SchoolPower hits off another dodgeball tournament for LBUSD

By Pierce Freebairn, LBHS student

In partnership with Brush & Palette newspaper

On October 17, SchoolPower hosted its 9th Annual Dodgeball Tournament. Every school year, SchoolPower starts off the first semester with the fundraising event. Families, students, coaches, teachers and volunteers alike came together to support the 420 players and 55 teams dodge and throw their way to victory. 

“It’s always a good time. It’s fun to get out of my typical role and put on my competitive spirit,” said Activities Director and social science teacher Jennifer Lundblad.Also, I like to support SchoolPower in all they do for our school and the students.”

The tournament was split into three different divisions: The first included 15 teams of 4th and 5th graders, the second had 28 teams of 6th through 8th graders, and the third division had 12 teams of adults and high schoolers. There was a winner in each division. 

The winning teams from each division were “The Kooks” from the first, “Lil’ Slunks” from the second, and “PrescribeWellness” from the third division.

Dodgeball entails skill, teamwork and, of course, fun. Many teams and players have participated in this event over the years. 

Schoolpower hits Wellness

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Elaine Brashier

The winning and defending champion team of the High School/Adult Division, PrescribeWellness, receives their trophy

“I played when I was little on the team ‘Animal Kingdom,’ and we won! I wanted to play again and have the same experience,” said ASB student and senior Kolton Freeman. “I also wanted to revamp a horrible teacher team and carry them on my back into the final round.”

A team can also win an award for its costumes. It’s tradition for the dodgeball teams to dress up, vying for the “best costume” award. The winning teams for best costumes were the “Space Unicorns” from the first, the “Holi-dodgers” from the second, and “Rhythm Ride or Die” from the third division. Winning teams receive $500 to give to the teacher or school program of their choice. 

Schoolpower hits unicorns

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Kristin Karkoska

The Space Unicorns pose with coach-parent Eric Siedenburg for a group picture for winning the best costume award

Not only does the SchoolPower Dodgeball Tournament support our school, it also creates a community for our teachers, students, families and local businesses. Some of the dodgeball teams were community representatives or local businesses, like the “Lifeguards,” “PrescribeWellness” and “Rhythm Ride.” Fun events like these unite the community and create lasting memories. Participants will likely never forget the fun they had during the Dodgeball tournament. 

 “Lauren, the campus supervisor, was an absolute beast! She took out the biggest guy on the other team. And of course, Mrs. Gregory. She was the final player left on the court, trying to defend our team, and we watched her get a little feisty,” said Freeman. 

Many teachers at LBHS join the dodgeball tournament as a fun way to support the school and raise awareness for SchoolPower. 

Schoolpower hits Naess

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Kristin Karkoska

8th grade student Griffin Naess, from the BAYDODG-ers team, throws a ball at the opposition to take out their players 

“The staff team in 2017 didn’t win a single game – not one. We were hopeless, but we had a blast anyway! Jacob Pietig was playing on the Laguna Beach ‘Lifeguards’ team, and he hit me so hard I was seeing stars!” said economics teacher Mark Alvarez. “The worst part is I had to go back in because face shots don’t count. I was the last one left on my team, and four lifeguards were ready to pounce. Suffice to say, that game didn’t end well for the Disco Ballers,” 

But this year’s staff team, the “Safety Ballers,” went undefeated in the regular season thanks to MVP Kolton Freeman.

Thank you SchoolPower for supporting our school district and creating great ways for us to support our community through school spirit.

Stu News Laguna is proud to feature LBHS students’ writing in partnership with the high school’s journalism class and the Brush & Palette student newspaper.


LBHS Boys Cross Country wins State Title, becomes fastest D4 team in California history

The LBHS Boys Cross Country team followed up last weekend’s record-setting CIF Title with an even more impressive feat – a State Title!

The highly favored Breakers entered the state race with a target on their backs. Preseason favorite Sir Francis Drake was healthy and running their whole team for the first time this season. The teams squared up against each other starting side by side. At the mile marker, Drake led the meet by a few points. It was shortly after the first mile that the Breakers took control and powered to a 68-97 decision. 

LBHS Boys Cross Country

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photos

This year’s LBHS Boys Cross Country team is the fastest D4 team in California history

It was Laguna Beach’s fourth state title spanning across four decades (1989, 2004, 2009, 2018). In a nostalgic ode to their rich history, team members wore white racing hats during the race and retro uniforms to honor the late legendary distance alum, Eric Hulst, from the 1970s. 

Ryan Smithers (2nd Individually) and Logan Brooks (7th Individually) led the Breakers and earned all-state honors. Cal Nielson, Mateo Bianchi, Zach Falkowski, Sebastian Fisher, and Will Compton rounded out the scoring for the Breakers.

“This has been an historic season for the Breakers as they rewrote the school record books and broke four course records throughout the season,” said Coach Scott Wittkop. “They go down as the fastest D4 team in California history!”


LBUSD seeks parent, staff and community input in Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey

On November 26, the Laguna Beach Unified School District began administration of the 2018-19 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey to gather feedback on the implementation of the district goals and state priorities, in partnership with Hanover Research.

Each school district in California must develop an LCAP that describes the school district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals. 

LBUSD seeks bushes

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The community’s input in the survey is crucial for the district

The LCAP must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities and must demonstrate how the district’s budget will help achieve the goals. Each year, strategies are assessed to determine how effectively they were able to improve student outcomes. 

“The input and feedback we receive from our community partners through our annual LCAP survey is a crucial part of providing our stakeholders with a voice in district planning to ensure that programs and services meet the unique needs of the community,” said Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Chad Mabery. 

Parent, staff, and community input via the survey accessible here is vital to the development of data-informed goals and the evaluation of outcomes. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and will remain open until December 7. School site meetings will be held to review survey data specific to each school site once the survey has closed.


LB AYSO girls soccer team finishes season undefeated and qualifies for Tournament of Champions

The Laguna Beach AYSO girls soccer team Red Wave consisting of 12 girls in 5th and 6th grades from Top of the World, El Morro, and Thurston schools finished the fall season undefeated with a 9-0 record. Red Wave is in the GU12 soccer division. 

Red Wave played other teams from South OC, such as Rancho Santa Margarita, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Hills and always left the field with a win. 

LB AYSO red team

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Red Wave after final regular season game – they remain undefeated

The girls on the Red Wave team also had the amazing opportunity to train with Premier League player Richard Chaplow, who played for Southampton and recently retired from OCSC. 

Red Wave fought their way to the top this season to make it to the Tournament of Champions in early December. They are excited to play in the tournament and are pleased that the undefeated GU14 Breakers soccer team from Laguna Beach will be playing in the tournament as well.

LB AYSO with coach

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Some of the team on training day with Richard Chaplow, retired Premier League player

The team roster includes: Anna Sandquist, Ava Guziak, Ava Steris, Capri Henrichsen, Chiara Berman-Yuhas, Fiona Huhn, Freja Harrison, Karina Aleknavicius, Morgan Saunders, Nina Zucca, Payton Taylor and Piper Halpern. 

Congratulations, Red Wave! 


TOW third grade students share important historical figures with family members and staff

Photos courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District

Top of the World third grade students were recently given important historical figures to research and present in a living history museum. Students dressed as Albert Einstein, Malala Yousafzai, Elvis Presley, Vincent van Gogh, and J.K. Rowling. The project culminates with a museum that family members and staff are invited to so that students can share everything they’ve learned.

TOW third Elvis

Click on photo for a larger image

Elvis was at TOW for the student history presentation

TOW third Albert

Click on photo for a larger image

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”

TOW third group

Click on photo for a larger image

Families and staff had a great time at TOW’s historical museum 

TOW third JK

Click on photo for a larger image

J.K. Rowling is best known for her Harry Potter book series

TOW third Malala

Click on photo for a larger image

Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize


LBHS Boys and Girls Cross Country headed to State Finals this weekend

LBHS Boys and Girls

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Kathy Rose

On November 17, the LBHS Boys and Girls Cross Country teams dominated at the CIF D4 Finals, both advancing to the State Finals to be held in Fresno tomorrow (Saturday). Way to go, Breakers!

Front Row: (L-R) Sierra Read, Angelina Dyrnaes, Molly Cohn, Morgan Falkowski, Kaitlin Ryan, Jessie Rose, Audrey Sutton, Hannah Konkel, Emily Engel, and Sydney Schaefgen.

Back Row: (L-R) Ryan Smithers, Cal Nielson, Timmy Crawford, Will Compton, Mateo Bianchi, Zach Falkowski, Logan Brooks, Daniel Kimball, and Gabe Neff.

Page 1 of 23