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LBHS students light up the stage at LitLaguna LB Expression Spoken-Word and Hooping event

Photos by Jeff Rovner

LBHS students Chloe

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Chloe Bryan

LBHS students Luka

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Luka Salib

LBHS students Logan

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Logan Leeds

LBHS students Yuika

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Yuika Yoshida

LBHS students MJ

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MJ Walker

Students and staff rally around a new positive culture

By Will Clark 

On Monday, Sept 10, LBHS students signed the No Place for Hate pledge. This pledge signifies that our school values equality and safety and will work against bullying and discrimination of all types. Thanks to the hard work of LBHS staff members Kristin Cowles and Dawn Hunnicutt, our school received its No Place for Hate accreditation during a board meeting before the beginning of the school year. 

“Two years ago, discussions between teachers and administration began about racism and discrimination and prejudice,” said Cowles. “No Place for Hate was a way to deal with problems regarding racism that was systemic and preventative rather than reactionary.” 

No Place for Hate focuses on shifting our school culture to one of greater understanding and acceptance of all kinds of people. In the past, our school has struggled at times with issues of race, particularly in our athletic programs. 

“At times chanting from the stands, that I do not believe was racially motivated, has come off as such. So, we have had a lot of training with our students on how to be respectful fans,” said Athletic Director Lance Neal. 

Neal compared our school environment to a team – we must practice the way we interact with people just as an athletic team practices their sport every day. This practice will eventually lead to a more socially aware student body. 

“In schools today, we get so caught up in grade point averages and test scores that we forget to work on the human piece enough, so the fact that we now have that embedded in our school is a step in the right direction,” said Neal. 

Given the opportunity and the structure to improve as a school will, hopefully, allow for further growth in the future. Attending a No Place for Hate school, the student body will sign the pledge every year; in addition, the school will hold several activities regarding anti-bullying throughout the year. The goal of these activities is to create an environment in which every student feels secure. 

Students and group

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Submitted photo

Cowles introduces the No Place For Hate student representatives to the goals of the program during the club’s first meeting on Monday, Oct 1. Cowles has worked hard to help make LBHS a No Place For Hate School.

“I feel very safe in our school, and I truly believe everyone at this school is lucky to attend a school that values equality so highly,” said senior Dylan Brashier regarding the pledge. 

Cowles believes that, as a school, we can most easily improve our culture by simply being conscientious of what we say and how we joke.

In discussing the importance of minding our words, Cowles refers to the comedic methods of punching-up and punching-down. Punching-up refers to people in a position of less power taking verbal jabs at those in power, while punching-down refers to those groups in power joking or demeaning those groups that have less power. Punching-down most often targets minority groups, and as a result, perpetuates historic prejudice and racism. 

“The biggest place for improvement is what we consider jokes. Paying attention to the impact our words have, especially when we’re joking, is extremely important,” said Cowles.

As for the future, Cowles has the utmost confidence in the LBHS community’s ability to continue to grow.

“My colleagues are some of the best people I have had the pleasure of knowing. These people want to help kids. I am supremely confident in the willingness and energetic nature of the other staff here in their efforts to help change our school for the better,” said Cowles.

Cowles holds high expectations as to what our school can become under this new culture. 

“We are at a point where we will start to become a model that other schools look to. To borrow from US History, we will become like a city on the hill: something that people can look up to and emulate because of who we are, and that will be our reputation,” said Cowles.

LB Boys Cross Country once again proves it belongs with the best teams in the nation

Laguna Beach Boys Cross Country traveled north to race at The Roughrider Invitational held at Woodward Park in Clovis (home of the State Meet) over the weekend. The coaching staff opted out of the small school race to challenge the squad to compete with the larger D1 and D2 schools. 

Laguna Beach Boys race

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Submitted photo

Breakers team races to the finish to maintain #1 ranking in the state

The record-breaking team did not disappoint as they beat highly state-ranked Granada by more than 30 points to take first place. The Breakers recorded a team time of 79:32 to notch the fastest D4 time in Woodward Park history. The Varsity team consisted of Sebastian Fisher 15:46, Ryan Smithers 15:47, Logan Brooks 15:53, Zach Falkowski 16:01, Mateo Bianchi 16:01, Cal Neilson 16:16, Will Compton 17:00, and Daniel Kimball 17:17.

The Breakers are currenty ranked 1st in CIF and 1st in State.

The lower levels also ran well as the Frosh/Soph team took 2nd place and the JV team, which ran the Varsity small school race, placed 10th out of 32 teams. 

LBHS Football loses heartbreaker on Saturday against top-ranked Western

LBHS Football was on the losing end of a heartbreaker on Saturday against top-ranked Western High School, a school three times its size. The final score was 47 to 35.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on Friday but was rescheduled due to rain and lightning.

All the players were on the field warming up [on Friday] when it started raining and we could see lightning in the distance around 6:45 p.m.,” said a fan by email. “They postponed for half an hour but the rain just kept getting heavier, and lightning moving closer. So they moved us to the gym. Finally around 8 p.m. they let us know it would be moved to Saturday afternoon.”

LHBS muddy

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Photo by Luna Tarazi

LBHS Football put up a good fight against a very tough Western High School team Saturday on the road

“We looked awesome in the first half driving down the field at will,” continued the fan. “We also scored 2 TDs that were called back. Such a bummer, especially against a team like that!

“Despite the loss, the game built the boys’ confidence seeing how easy it was for us to score on such a top-ranked team. They realized just how far they’ve come competing at higher levels. The coaches have done an amazing job bringing this team together pulling the best out of our players. They truly care about these guys both on and off the field.” 

Shane Lythgoe had another outstanding game, scoring 2 TDs. QB Andrew Johnson also connected with Sean Nolan, Kai Ball and Noah Diver on TD passes, finishing the game with 292 yards passing and 4 TDs. Johnson is now second in LBHS history in season TD passes with 25 (the record is 26).

LHBS Johnson

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Photo by Luna Tarazi

Junior QB Andrew Johnson is 2 TDs away from breaking the school record for most TD passes in a season

Laguna looks to rebound on Friday night against Ocean View (8-0), a must-win for the team to remain in playoff contention. It is Senior Night, with festivities kicking off at 6:30 p.m.

Bring the family out and come give our boys a cheer!

PTA Coffee Talk presents ways families can laugh more and avoid rebellion on Oct 17

On Wednesday, Oct 17 from 8:30 - 10 a.m., PTA Coffee talk will discuss four things to deepen respect, avoid rebellion and enjoy more laughter amongst families. The talk will be hosted by Tyler Durman and held at Seven 7 Seven.

PTA Coffee Talk school

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The PTA Coffee Talk series is intended solely to help parents in the community

The theme resides around helping families live better stories. Being a parent can be challenging and the talk gives families a new framework to help them better understand their role and kids with greater clarity. 

Helping parents is the only thing the PTA Coffee Talk thinks about doing. This talk is directed to give solutions and guide interactions as parents walk through the teenage years. 

PTA Coffee Talk is free to members or a 10-dollar donation. 

To RSVP, visit

Homecoming 2018: Meet your king and queen

Photos by Scott Brashier

On Friday, Laguna Beach High School celebrated a huge last second win over Rio Hondo in football, 49-46, and also the “spirit of homecoming” as a community.

Homecoming 2018 king and queen

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Homecoming King and Queen, Eliana Arthur and Cal Nielson

Homecoming 2018 seniors

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Homecoming Seniors

Homecoming 2018 juniors

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Homecoming Juniors

Homecoming 2018 freshmen

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Homecoming Freshmen

School Board Meeting Agenda for tonight includes action on One Billion Acts of Kindness

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, Oct 9) regular LBUSD Board meeting has been posted online here. 

Special study sessions on Dyslexia and Computer Science/Literacy will take place beginning at 5 p.m. Open session will begin at 6 p.m. 

The Board will consider action on a resolution in support of One Billion Acts of Kindness, an initiative that seeks to improve school climate, promote character and rally communities for greater civility through one billion acts of kindness.

School Board meeting mural

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Photo by Mary Castillo

One Billion Acts of Kindness seeks to improve school climate and promote character

The initiative also supports improved student behavior by reducing bullying, reducing suspension rates, and increasing attendance. This resolution supports the district’s efforts to create a positive learning environment for all students and staff.

Staff will present information updates on district-wide student achievement, technology and facilities during the meeting.

LBHS cheer squad invites future cheerleaders to Laguna Beach Cheer Clinic on Saturday, Oct 13

Future cheerleaders, both boys and girls, from the ages of kindergarten through eighth grade, are invited to join the LBHS cheer squad at the Laguna Beach Cheer Clinic at LBHS Dugger Gym on Saturday, Oct 13. Attendees will learn cheers, chants, dance with the LBHS cheerleaders and perform at the LBHS versus Ocean View home football game on Friday, Oct 19.

LBHS cheer group

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(L-R) Back row: Tanya Tran, Kelsey Bailey, Eden Pfanner, Chloe Gabora, Emma Diver, Sophia Pfanner, Izzy Lyons, Ariana Bonni, Alina Dziuk, Lucy Becker

(L-R) Front row: Captains Cirrafina Biele and Kali Russell

Not pictured: Alex Lemus, Nina Seidensticker, Kaylie Rozell

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The fee for the clinic is $50, which includes all instruction, a Laguna Cheer T-shirt, hair bow, pom-poms, snack and water. The price is $55 for sign-ups on the morning of the clinic.

LBHS Dugger Gym is on St Ann’s Dr, and LBHS cheerleaders will be there to direct attendees.

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

Register online at Navigate to the cheer section.

For questions, contact Cheer Boosters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LBHS Football wins last-second Homecoming thriller against Rio Hondo Prep, 49-46

LBHS Football defeated Rio Hondo Prep in a last-second thriller on Friday, 49-46, in a game that is sure to go down as one of the most exciting Homecoming games in LBHS history.

The Breakers dominated most of the game but Rio Hondo fought their way back and took the lead late in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Breakers 29 to 14 in the final quarter.

Luckily for the Breakers, with 20 seconds left, Shane Lythgoe caught a swing pass from Andrew Johnson and broke two tackles on his way to his fourth TD, marking the go ahead score. On the ensuing drive, he intercepted a pass from the Rio Hondo QB, as the fans erupted, securing a 49-46 victory. 

 “Shane Lythgoe and Special Teams were the name of the game Friday,” said a fan after the game. “Lythgoe shined on both offense and defense, while Special Teams scored on both a punt and kickoff return.”

Lythgoe finished the game with 129 yards on 22 carries, and 4 TDs.

Also contributing, Kai Ball's 95-yard kickoff return, Sean Nolan scored on a punt return, and Raul Villalobos also scored a TD on a 31-yard pass reception from Andrew Johnson.

LBHS Football wins Lythgoe

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Photo by Luna Tarazi

Shane Lythgoe scored 4 TDs on Friday to help lead LBHS to victory over Rio Hondo Prep

QB Andrew Johnson posted another lights out performance, passing for 230 yards and 2 touchdowns, moving him into 9th all-time on the LBHS season passing record list, and 4th all-time in season TD passes. Kai Ball’s 95-yard kickoff return ties for 8th all-time as the longest return in LBHS history.

The Breakers (6-1) will be battling Western (6-1), ranked number 1 in Division 11, this Friday in the Pioneers’ Homecoming game.

Laguna Beach Unified continues to exceed standards in 2018 CAASPP results

The results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) tests, which were completed by students in grades 3-8 and 11 last spring, have been released by the California Department of Education. The latest data from the CDE shows that the Laguna Beach Unified School District continues to be one of the highest performing districts in California in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. 

Laguna Beach Unified school

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LBUSD scores in math and ELA have been on the rise since 2015

Established in 2014, the CAASPP System is California’s academic assessment system that measures California Standard’s achievement for grades 3 through 8 and 11 in English and mathematics. Now in its fourth year, the computer-based tests use California’s challenging academic standards and ask students to write, think critically, and solve complex problems. 

Overall, LBUSD scores have risen 6 percent in ELA and 8 percent in math since 2015. The table below reflects the percentage of students who met or exceeded state standards throughout all four years of the new assessment system.

Laguna Beach Unified table

“We are thrilled to see this continuous improvement for our students in literacy and mathematics,” said Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Chad Mabery. He continued, “This level of academic excellence and growth across four years speaks volumes about the dedication and efforts of our students, teachers, and instructional leaders.”

Students in the district continue to earn some of the highest levels of proficiency for ELA/Literacy and mathematics in the county and state. Overall, in Orange County, the percent of proficient students in ELA was 58 percent and 49 percent in mathematics, while LBUSD students averaged 82 percent in ELA and 74 percent in mathematics. For the state of California, 50 percent of students were proficient in ELA, and 39 percent of students were proficient in mathematics.

Because CAASPP tests are given statewide, they provide an opportunity to measure the skills of all students against the same academic standards in the same way. The results are posted annually on the CAASPP results website. Parents receive a written report of their child’s scores and can compare progress from one year to the next. 

The Board of Education will receive an informational report regarding the CAASPP scores at the October 9 board meeting.

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