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LBHS FLOW begins the year as a new program, ends the year with a flourish

Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) implemented a brand-new program called LBHS FLOW this past academic year. The mission of the program was to provide specific academic content that engaged the students to work together with each other and with the outside community. 

The FLOW program was designed by LBHS English teachers David Brobeck and Sarah Benson. Their goal was to create an innovative approach to learning and writing across the curriculum, while weaving together the student body, diverse academic disciplines and community partners in a communal effort to strengthen students’ stewardship of our natural environment.

FLOW stands for fire, land, ocean, and water – four environmental issues particularly relevant to Laguna Beach. This past year, students studied FLOW topics in grades 9-12. 

SchoolPower furthered support by selecting the FLOW program as their MegaGrant recipient in 2020 and continues to partner with FLOW, providing unparalleled educational opportunities to the students.

The kick-off for the program earlier this school year was a week-long event titled FLOW Week that took place in November. Coast Film Festival (CFF) joined in, spearheaded by Ben Warner and Enich Harris, providing dynamic films and curating speakers and content from professional athletes, activists and filmmakers, which were then presented to students in grade-level assemblies.

Those assemblies allowed students to hear from the likes of professional surfer Greg Long, filmmaker and Laguna Beach local Greg MacGillivray and National Geographic filmmaker Pete McBride concerning environmental issues that brought FLOW topics to life. 

Some of the successes throughout the year included a January lesson, where the entire student body read a memoir text connected to their respective FLOW topic. Students then engaged in reading, writing and discussions to tackle the significance of environmental issues.

Added to this was the integration of community partners to add depth to the experience. For example, freshmen (studying fire) participated in a presentation from the Laguna Beach Fire Department, as well as a panel discussion with local residents who experienced the 1993 Laguna Beach fire. 

Sophomores (studying land) learned about the preservation of Laguna Canyon from Hallie Jones of the Laguna Canyon Foundation.

Then, throughout the year, the LBHS FLOW Club participated in FLOW Service Sundays with local community partners, including sustainable farming and composting in conjunction with The Ranch, trail work with Laguna Canyon Foundation and much more. 

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LBUSD recognized with two national awards

The Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) was recognized with two awards from the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) in the category of Publications and Digital Media Excellence. The entries were awarded for the LBUSD Mental Health Awareness Video, created by Andy Crisp and Renew, Recharge, Reimagine: LBUSD’s Annual Community Report 2020-2021, created by the Communications Department.

The NSPRA, recognized as the leader in school communication, has honored the best work in school communication for more than 50 years. NSPRA uses experienced, award-winning professionals to evaluate entries in the Gold Medallion, Golden Achievement Awards, and Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards programs.

The Publications and Digital Media Excellence Awards recognize outstanding education publications, e-newsletters, digital media programs, radio/TV/video programs, social media, infographics, blogs and websites.

The mental health awareness video was aimed to shed light on the fact that many people our students know are struggling with mental health and to inspire the school community and beyond to be the force that breaks the stigma of getting support when needed. 

LBUSD recognized student

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Courtesy of LBUSD

Student actress Jordan Casolari is pictured in LBUSDs Mental Health Awareness Video

Mental health disorders are treatable and the video was to educate viewers that help is available. The intended audience for the video was middle and high school students, staff, families and our broader community.

Each of the participants in the development of the video work daily to support all students and help them discover who they are meant to be. Each participant was deeply committed to ensuring that those experiencing depression and anxiety do not feel defined by their struggle.

“Being able to create a meaningful video with such a caring and creative group of people during the middle of the pandemic was definitely a highlight of the school year,” shared Andy Crisp, LBUSD multimedia specialist. “Each student and staff member that worked on the project really understood the importance of creating a compelling story that would resonate with our community, normalize mental health struggles and encourage our students to seek out support when needed.”

The Annual Community Report is sent to all residents in the LBUSD each year. It details many highlights, milestones, and lessons learned in supporting the mission of ensuring each student gains the knowledge, experience, world perspectives and skills needed to become a lifelong learner and producer in a competitive and interconnected world.

The LBUSD, under the leadership of the board of education and the superintendent, strives to partner with the community to provide accurate information in an effective, timely, and efficient manner, engaging in productive two-way communication with staff, students, parents, guardians and community members.

“The communications team has continued to partner with internal and external stakeholders across the district in order to lay a strong foundation to drive branding and marketing efforts districtwide,” said Shelley Spessard, Ed.D., LBUSD public information officer. “Communication channels have been established and defined for each audience, with content carefully tailored for each stakeholder group. Our work is a team effort and we couldn’t be more honored to receive these recognitions.”

Award winners will be recognized nationally at the NSPRA 2022 National Seminar in Chicago. LBUSD Public Information Officer Shelley Spessard Ed.D. will attend the conference online and accept the awards on behalf of the district.


Anneliese Schools celebrate end of the school year with performances, certificates

Anneliese Schools celebrated the end of the school year with performances across all grades, from nursery to sixth grade, at their three campuses.

Students showcased their learning through orchestra and band performances, dance, poetry recitation and singing in several world languages, including American Sign Language. Families, students and staff enjoyed a meal together and celebrated the learning accomplishments made over the past year. 

Anneliese Schools Aubrey and Anneliese

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Photos courtesy of Anneliese Schools

Student Aubrey Waterhouse, grade 3 with Anneliese Schools founder, Anneliese Schimmelphennig

Anneliese Schools Chesanek

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Lisa Chesanek, K1 (TK) teacher with Anneliese Schimmelphennig and students

Anneliese Schools Lis Williams

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Lis Williams, K2 teacher with student Janelle Rothman, sharing her graduation certificate

Anneliese Schools K1 TK Class

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K1 (TK) class performs

Anneliese Schools K2 kinder

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K2 kindergarten class performs

Anneliese Schools K1 TK girls

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K1 (TK) girls are all smiles

Anneliese Schools K1 TK boys

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K1 (TK) boys dressed in their Aloha leis

Anneliese Schools 1st grade

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1st grade class graduation, students pictured with Connie Hull

Anneliese Schools 2nd and 3rd grade

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2nd/3rd grade blended class performs

Anneliese Schools 3rd grade girls

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3rd grade girls hang out

Anneliese Schools self portrait

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Self-portrait graduation certificates created by K1 (TK) students

Anneliese Schools buffet

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After graduation, students, teachers, family and friends enjoyed a buffet meal

Editor’s Note: All photos are of the Manzanita Campus students and staff.


LBHS 2022 Commencement: pomp and circumstance, a cap toss and plenty of smiles

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Thursday, June 9, the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) 2022 Commencement took place, beginning at 7 p.m. at LBHS Guyer Field. 

The ceremony began with the Procession of the Faculty, Procession of the Graduates, who were adorned with leis and walked under the flower arches (a long-standing graduation tradition) to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” as they made their way to the stadium bleachers.

Principal Jason Allemann and Asst. Principal Dale Miller shared warm welcomes and introductions. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Senior Class President George Saba. The Senior Address was delivered by Vic Neni. Camile Deckey delivered her Valedictorian Address, followed by the Graduate Address by retiring teacher, Steve Sogo.

Remarks/Certification of the Class of 2022 were given by Principal Allemann followed by Superintendent Jason Viloria congratulating the students. The formal presentation of diplomas ensued, handed out by Principal Allemann.

The long-awaited turning of the mortar board tassels and joyous cap toss culminated the memorable festivities.

Congratulations to LBHS Class of 2022…this calls for a celebration!

LBHS 2022 leis

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Students of the LBHS Class of 2022 arrive early to check in and receive their leis

LBHS 2022 flower arches girls

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These young ladies will hold the flower arches for the Procession of the Graduates

LBHS 2022 Thanos Glove

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LBHS 2022 classmates bestowed this retired English teacher, Sean Mehegan with a Thanos Glove. Well wishes to him as he “harnesses the power of the Infinity Stones.”

LBHS 2022 leis and arches

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The graduates wear traditional flower leis during the procession under the flower arches – an LBHS graduation tradition

LBHS 2022 Breaker Pride

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Displaying Breaker Pride, LBHS teachers are dressed in black robes with the student body wearing white and maroon, the school colors

LBHS 2022 graduates assembled

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Class of 2022 LBHS graduates assembled on the Guyer Field bleachers prior to the diploma ceremony

LBHS 2022 Principal Jason Allemann

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A warm welcome from LBHS Principal Jason Allemann

LBHS 2022 George Sabe

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Pledge of Allegiance was led by Senior Class President George Sabe

LBHS 2022 Vic Neni

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Vic Neni delivered the Senior Address

LBHS 2022 Camille Deckey

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Valedictorian Address by Camille Deckey

LBHS 2022 Steve Sogo

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Graduate Address by retiring teacher, Steve Sogo

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TOW holds kindergarten ceremony and program

Top of the World (TOW) kindergarten classes performed at the end-of the year ceremony held on Thursday, June 9, the last day of school.

TOW holds kids on stage

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Photo by Jim Kelly

TOW kindergartens perform on stage at the end-of-the year ceremony

“Our kindergarten community came together to celebrate the social, emotional and academic growth of our students in our end-of-year kindergarten ceremony,” shared TOW Principal Dr. Julie Ann Hatchel. “Kindergarten students sang some of their favorite songs, each student was presented with a certificate and staff, students and families met together in the kindergarten class for an informal ‘luau’ to end the school year.” A special thanks to kindergarten teachers Mrs. Bartlett, Mrs. Parlapanides, Ms. Bismack, Mrs. Haverland and Mrs. Sullivan.


Thurston Middle School holds promotions ceremony

Photos by Scott Brashier

On Thursday, June 9, Thurston Middle School held their promotions ceremony at Laguna Beach High School’s (LBHS) Guyer Field from 3-4 p.m. 

Congratulations to all the students who will be matriculating to LBHS in the fall!

Thurston students bleachers

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Thurston Middle School eighth grade students head to the Guyer Field bleachers prior to the promotions ceremony

Thurston Principal

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Thurston Middle School Principal Joe Vidal addresses the students and attendees

Thurston ASB President

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Thurston ASB President Brighton Welch shares her remarks at the podium

Thurston Ayla McManus

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Ayla McManus receives her Certificate of Promotion from Principal Vidal

Thurston Piper Wald

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Piper Wald with her Certificate of Promotion

Thurston Cash Walker

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Cash Walker receives his Certificate of Promotion from Principal Vidal

Thurston Michelle Blunk

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Michelle Blunk receives a congratulatory hug

Thurston Sheela Zimel

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Sheela Zimel with her Certificate of Promotion

Thurston Achievement medals

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Thurston Academic Achievement Medal winners

Thurston students lineup

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Students line up with their Certificates of Promotion

Thurston 2022 class

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Thurston Middle School Class of 2022


Top of the World 5th graders revel in end-of-the-year promotions ceremony

On Thursday, June 9, Top of the World (TOW) Elementary School held their 5th grade promotions ceremony from 8:15-9:15 a.m. Each student received a flower lei to wear in celebration of the day.

“Congratulations Top of the World 5th graders! You finally made it and have accomplished so much during your time at TOW. We are SO proud of you and can’t wait to watch you thrive as you enter your next adventure in middle school,” said a spokesperson for the LBUSD.

Top of the World fifth Dr. Julie Hatchel

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Photos courtesy of LBUSD

TOW Principal Dr. Julie Hatchel addressed the fifth graders and attendees at the promotions ceremony

Top of the World fifth Principal diploma

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A student received her Certificate of Promotions from Principal Dr. Hatchel

Top of the World fifth two ladies and girl

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Congrats to this happy 5th grader who is matriculating to middle school in the fall

Top of the World fifth family with girl flowered dress

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A proud family with their recently promoted 5th grader

Top of the World fifth family with boy with plate

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This 5th grader dons his lei for a family photo

Top of the World fifth family with surfboard

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Surfs up for this happy family at the end-of-year 5th grade promotions program

Top of the World fifth TOW tile wall

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Snapping a pic in front of the TOW tile wall

Top of the World fifth two boys with leis

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Two 5th grade pals share the spotlight

Top of the World fifth family in quad

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Commemorating the day in the TOW quad

Top of the World fifth sweets

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Following the promotions ceremony, students indulged in a buffet of sweet confections, desserts and fresh fruit to celebrate the festivities


LBHS Seniors paddle out to Picnic Beach, a commencement tradition

Photos by Scott Brashier

On Monday, June 6, the Laguna Beach High School Senior Class held a paddle out to celebrate their commencement.

According to parent Kirsten Warner, whose son Tate was part of this year’s graduating class, “The paddle out tradition started in 2020 when grads couldn’t be inside and they didn’t have any of the ‘traditional’ events. It replaced the pool party that had been an LBHS tradition, so thank you Class of 2020.

“In partnership with the Laguna Beach Lifeguards, the location of Picnic Beach was chosen for the safest and easiest access to help encourage wide participation from the students. Laguna Beach Lifeguards were also on location and staffed for the event.” 

What a way to celebrate commencement – Laguna Beach style!

LBHS seniors chillin'

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LBHS Seniors chillin’ before the paddle

LBHS seniors heading down

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Heading down to Picnic Beach, boards in tow

Getting ready to hit the waves

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Getting ready to hit the waves

LBHS seniors ceremony

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Students share in an ocean ceremony

LBHS seniors paddling back

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Paddling back in


LBHS 2022 Senior Parade with memorable fanfare, cheers and, of course, the iconic cap toss

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Wednesday, June 8, the Laguna Beach High School 2022 Graduating Class held their celebratory parade, kicking off the procession with marching band music! (Thank you to the Laguna Beach Presbyterian volunteers for helping with the line-up.)

After gathering at City Hall, the Senior Class was escorted by the Laguna Beach Police Department led by LBPD SRO Officer Fred Yielding and the LBHS Cheerleaders down Ocean Avenue and blocking Pacific Coast Highway briefly for a safe crossing. 

Family, friends and community supporters lined the streets waving and cheering the graduates on, who gathered on the sand below the iconic Lifeguard Tower for a group photo and the auspicious cap toss on Main Beach, a tradition started by the LBHS Class of 2020. Photographers Candice Dartez and Cory Sparkuhl captured the moment with photos and video.

The Class of 2022 Commencement Ceremony took place on Thursday, June 9 beginning at 7 p.m. on Guyer Field.

LBHS Senior Parade congratulations

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Congratulations LBHS Class of 2022…you did it!

LBHS Senior Parade crossing

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Class of 2022 crossing Pacific Coast Highway

LBHS Senior Parade Dartez

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Photographer Candice Dartez organizing the group for their class photo at the iconic Lifeguard Tower

LBHS Senior Parade cap toss

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The emblematic Cap Toss!

LBHS Senior Parade graduates

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Proud graduates (L-R) Luke Degner, Jack Arntz, Maddox Hammer, Sam Arntz and Ty Meister

LBHS Senior Parade Hagopians

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Graduate Natalia Hagopian with her devoted family

For more photos on the Senior Parade by Mary Hurlbut, see the slideshow below


Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation holds 2022 Convocation to recognize student honorees

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Friday, June 3, the Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation (LBHSSF) held its annual Honors Convocation to recognize the Class of 2022 student scholarship recipients and thanked the generous scholarship donors at a private reception prior to the program.

The program began with the flag salute conducted by Henry Le, 2022-23 senior class president and Andrew Kelleher, 2022-23 ASB president. It was followed by a welcome from LBHS Principal Dr. Jason Allemann and opening remarks by Jennifer Sweet, LBHSSF president. The total number of awards bestowed was 126, totaling more than $400,000 worth of scholarships.

Scholarships are awarded to recognize academic achievements, athletic endeavors, financial need, good citizenship, leadership, personal courage, the arts, music, school spirit, community service and more. Scholarships are available to students attending two- or four-year colleges or universities as well as vocational schools. LBHSSF has been awarding scholarships to graduating LBHS seniors since 1947.

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Members of the LBHS Class of 2022 participate in the Pledge of Allegiance

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(L-R) Greg MacGillivray, MacGillivray Freeman Films chats with LBHS Principal Dr. Jason Allemann

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Magnolia Meekma, recipient of the Heather Brobeck Memorial Scholarship with David Brobeck, LBHS English Department Chair

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Soroptimist International of Laguna Beach Special Achievement Award winners (L-R) Morgan Welch, presenter Sylvia Moore, Christina Hartley, Georgia Keel and Makena Angus

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Renae Hinchey presents the Skipper Lynn Laguna Beach Seniors Scholarship to Keegan Thomas

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Barbara MacGillivray presents Gavin Pike with a scholarship that honored him for his commitment to marine and safety lifeguarding. You may remember he saved two lives from a dangerous rip current in 2019.

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(L-R) Aaron Talrico, Jonathan Cohen and James Hanna present Mack Pardun (second from left) with the Matthew Reedy Memorial Scholarship

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(L-R) Tate Warner receives the Coast Film Festival Emerging Filmmaker Scholarship from CFF Co-founder Enich Harris

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(L-R) Mia Tacklind is presented the KC Cooper Science and Technology Scholarship by Amanda Horton

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Two of the three winners of the Dick Metz Surf Foundation Scholarship (L-R) Jaden Shalala and Emma Reidinger pose with Dick Metz (second from left)

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John Gabbard, Commander, VFW Post 5868 watches the LBHS Honors Convocation

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, see the slideshow below

For a complete list of all the Honors Convocation scholarships and student winners, click here.

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Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

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In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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