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School Notes

Laguna Beach’s Peyton Nash named to Dean’s List at University of Alabama

Peyton Nash of Laguna Beach was named to the Dean’s List for the Fall Semester 2022 at the University of Alabama. Students qualifying for the list earned this with an academic record of 3.5 (or above) in UA’s more than 70 undergraduate programs and 12 colleges and schools.

The UA dean’s and president’s lists recognize full-time undergraduate students. The lists do not apply to graduate students or undergraduate students who take less than a full course load.

The University of Alabama is located in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

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School Notes

Braselle named to Dean’s List at the University of Iowa

Clay Braselle of Laguna Beach was among the more than 4,000 undergraduate students at the University of Iowa named to the Dean’s List for the 2022 spring semester. Braselle is a fourth-year student in Iowa’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and is majoring in English and Creative Writing.

Dean’s List status was earned by 714 first-year undergraduates during the 2022 spring semester at Iowa, only 1,268 second-year students, only 1,559 third-year students and only 2,045 fourth-year students.

Guidelines for inclusion on the list are a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher on 12 semester hours or more of UI graded coursework during a given semester or summer session. 

As a top global university, Iowa is the ideal destination for learning, discovery and innovation, located in the heart of downtown Iowa City, Iowa.

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School Notes

Local recognized on Dean’s List at Belmont University, y’all

Brennan Noring, of Laguna Beach, was recognized on the Dean’s List for the Fall 2022 semester at Belmont University. Dean’s List eligibility is based on a minimum course load of 12 hours and a quality grade point average of 3.5 with no grade below a C.

Belmont announced the list of students made up of the approximately 52% of Belmont’s 7,100 undergraduate students who qualified for the Fall 2022 Dean’s List.

Located two miles from downtown Nashville, Tenn., Belmont University comprises nearly 9,000 students from every state and 33 countries. Nationally ranked and consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report for innovation in higher education, the university offers more than 115 areas of undergraduate study, 41 master’s programs and five doctoral degrees.

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Mozart Classical Orchestra to perform at LBHS’ Artists Theater on January 22

Mozart Classical Orchestra (MCO) will be performing at Laguna Beach High School’s (LBHS) Artists Theater on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m.

Under the musical direction of Conductor Ami Porat, the celebration of their namesake – Mozart – comes to life as the orchestra celebrates Mozart’s birthday anniversary. This annual “all Mozart” program will open with the powerful yet rarely heard Idomeneo Overture, opening with a bold ceremonial flourish in a brilliant, fanfare-like D Major, immediately defining broad strokes and grand gestures. 

Mozart Classical Orchestra Lippi

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Photos courtesy of MCO

Violinist Isabella Lippi will be the featured soloist in Mozart’s Concerto K. 219 for violin and orchestra in A major

Violinist Isabella Lippi will be the featured soloist in Mozart’s Concerto K. 219 for violin and orchestra in A major. A virtuoso performer with a rich national and international career, Lippi is the concertmaster of the Elgin Symphony.

“Play it with fire and as fast as possible,” were Mozart’s own instructions for the two outer movements of the majestic Symphony No. 35, a brilliant masterpiece dedicated to the Haffner family, one of Mozart’s sponsors.

Mozart Classical Orchestra concert

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Mozart Classical Orchestra (MCO) will be celebrating Mozart’s birthday anniversary with the concert at the Artists Theater on January 22

Tickets are $39 and can be purchased online at https://mozartorchestra.org/tickets.

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.

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School Notes

Local named to Dean’s List at Bradley University

Oliver Zinn, a Bradley student majoring in History from Laguna Beach, has been named to Bradley’s Fall 2022 Dean’s List. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, a student must achieve a minimum 3.5 grade point average for the semester on a 4.0 scale.

Bradley University is a top-ranked, private university in Peoria, Ill., offering nearly 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students opportunities, choices and resources to build their futures. Their comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate academic programs includes business, communications, education, engineering, fine arts, health sciences, liberal arts and sciences and technology.

Lehigh University names local to Dean’s List

Dean’s List status, which is awarded to students who earned a scholastic average of 3.6 or better while carrying at least 12 hours of regularly graded courses, has been granted to Will Kalmbach in the Fall 2022 semester.

For more than 150 years, Lehigh University has combined outstanding academic and learning opportunities with leadership in fostering innovative research. The institution is among the nation’s most selective, highly ranked private research universities. Lehigh’s five colleges – College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Health and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science – provides opportunities to 7,000+ students to discover and grow in an academically rigorous environment along with a supportive, engaged campus community.

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LBHS Boys Basketball team partners with City of Hope for inaugural blood drive

This past Sunday (Dec. 18), the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) Boys Basketball team partnered with the City of Hope to host the first-ever blood donation drive at LBHS. Eighty people registered to donate blood, maxing out the number of spots available in a single day for blood donations. Almost 70 of those registered actually donated blood to this worthy cause, which is believed to be a record high for a single day’s blood drive with City of Hope. Many of the donors designated their blood donation to go to City of Hope patient, Arash Rounaghi, as he valiantly battles cancer. Arash is the dad of LBHS Varsity Basketball player Oliver Rounaghi (currently, a senior at LBHS) and LBHS Varsity Basketball player alumnus Arthur Rounaghi, who is attending the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Both Oliver and Arthur came to volunteer and participate in the blood donation drive, along with the entire Freshman squad, JV squad and Varsity squad of LBHS Boys Basketball.

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Photos by Jimmy Azadian

LBHS Boys Basketball team (L-R) Patrick Nugent, Liam Moore, Kiyan Arshadi, Damian Reider, Head Coach Rus Soobzokov, Sam Burchi, Sasha Riahi, Ellis Malang, Brody Azadian and Teddy Hackett

The players and Head Coach Rus Soobzokov did a phenomenal job putting on this community service project – the second community service project led by the Boys Basketball team this year.

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(L-R) LBHS Boys Basketball Head Coach Rus Soobzokov, Arash Rounaghi and Coach Emeritus Bret Fleming

Just before the drive began on Sunday morning, team parents put on a holiday pancake breakfast for all of the players and City of Hope staff, serving up freshly griddled pumpkin pancakes, with crisp bacon and sausage. It was a sight to behold! The holiday pancake team breakfast gave the team along with the City of Hope staff the energy they needed to conduct the day-long blood drive. And it also allowed for the team to bond just before the basketball season kicks off in full swing.

LBHS Boys Basketball Kamal Dimler 8

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LBHS Boys Basketball team members sporting their Warrior Team Rounaghi T-shirts (L-R) Mason Herr, Sam Burchi, Dylan McEachern, Jack Halvorson, Ashton Azadian, Damian Reider, Ryan Cheng and Kamal Dimler

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The inspirational Warrior Team Rounaghi T-shirt

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(L-R) Head Booster Jimmy Azadian and Julie Coccas flipping pancakes

LBHS Boys Basketball Kamal Dimler 8

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(L-R) This mother and daughter, Jennifer Cheng and Anna Cheng, are grilling sausages 

LBHS Boys Basketball Kamal Dimler 8

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The entire Boys Basketball team (Freshman, JV and Varsity) feasting at the pancake breakfast

The Rounaghi family made Warrior T-shirts for the occasion, worn by the entire team and a T-shirt was given to each blood donor that day. The message on the T-shirt is inspiring to all those who are struggling with something, including those who are battling cancer.

“We are so proud of the great efforts made and time invested by our players and coaches in giving back to the community,” said Jimmy Azadian, LBHS Boys Basketball head booster. “The team’s focus on giving back and making a positive difference off the court makes all of us proud! It shows how much of an impact high school students and athletes can have in making our community better and stronger. And it holds special meaning for the team because of the positive impact it has on one of the team’s parents, Arash Rounaghi.”

Everyone from newly elected City Councilmember Alex Rounaghi (Arash’s nephew) to former head basketball coach Bret Fleming and LBHS Girls Basketball Star Alumnus Anna Cheng (now in her first year at LMU and a Southern Section CIF academic award winner) came out to support this great cause.

LBHS Boys Basketball Kamal Dimler 8

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JV Basketball team member Kamal Dimler wheeling snacks to the gym for blood drive donors

“I know I speak for our entire basketball family when I say that we are so proud of our players and their dedication to giving back to our community this holiday season – the real reason for the season,” said Azadian.

A special thank you to current head coach Rus Soobzokov, Athletics Director Dr. Denise Selbe, LBHS Principal Dr. Jason Allemann, Athletics Office Assistant Tracy Paddock, the LBHS PTA, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Dixon, Facilities Director Ryan Zajda, Facilities Assistant Ann Moneymaker and Custodian Raymond Hogai for their unmatched support of the Boys Basketball team’s community service project.

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Alumni game begins new tradition for LBHS girls’ water polo

Story by Steve Riches

Photos by Scott Brashier

After 25 years of high school girls water polo in Laguna Beach, members of the current and past LBHS teams gathered recently at the high pool for an exciting game to start the 2022/2023 high school season and the first of what is hoped to be an annual tradition.

On the Alumni Team were recent graduates currently playing in D1 colleges around the US and also former LBHS stars from 2011 (Jessie Holecheck, Princeton) and 2012 (Yoshi Anderson, Harvard). The Alumni Team was coached by Ethan Damato (former head coach and LBHS alum).

The current Breakers’ team was comprised of varsity and JV players and coached by Claire Sonne (new head coach and also a LBHS alum).

“The alumni game was an incredible opportunity to bring our Laguna Beach water polo community together,” said Coach Sonne. “The alumni have created a legacy of success like no other and it is the current team’s goal to continue on that special legacy of unity and togetherness. I am so grateful for all of those that paved the way and for all of the continued support of the community. The alumni game was a truly special way to kick off our season!”

The current Breakers started the game strong winning the first quarter 6-3. In the remaining three quarters, the alumni team settled into a steady groove winning 4-1, 5-3 and 6-4 with a final score of 18-14.

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Lauren Schneider in goal, Charli Krotts defending and alumni’s Emma Lineback (current UCLA player) shooting

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LBHS alum London Boyd and current LMU player in goal; #7 alum Ava Houlahan, currently at Princeton; Jessie Rose alumni and current player at Cal in front of goal and LBHS Cleo Washer shooting

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Alum Nicole Struss, who currently plays for UCLA, is in goal

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Jordan Schneider shooting; with alum and former Harvard player Yohshi Anderson and Lauren Short in background. Ava Houlahan alumni and current Princeton player defending with arm raised.

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Current Princeton player Grace Houlahan shooting

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New Coach Claire Sonne is all smiles

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LBHS and alums

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Coach Ethan Damato and alumni parents

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Breakers’ girls b-ball off to a strong start with high goals for the season’s end

We’ve just gotten done with the most exciting season in Laguna Beach High School football. It was a record year! So, what’s next from the Breakers?

Keep an eye on their Girls Basketball program. They’re coming off last season which was their program’s most successful Girls Basketball season in school history. The team had the most wins in a season with 21; was ranked #3 in CIF Division 5AA; was the first Laguna Beach team to advance beyond the 2nd round of CIF Sectionals and the first team to qualify for the CIF State Regionals; and – this is a big “and” – they were the first team to win a state regional playoff game. Their four CIF playoff wins were the combined total of all previous teams in school history combined.

Breakers girls bball team

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Photo by Gillian Crane Photography

Here’s the great news! The team returns to action having graduated only one senior. And, although that player was one of the school’s all-time greats, Anna Cheng, the team still expects big things for the season. 

This year, the team will be led by Co-MVPs senior Sophie Marriner and sophomore Kate Cheng, who last season became the first teammates to be named 1st Team All-CIF in the same season. 

Also playing a big role will be senior Kenna Rudolph who has expanded her game beyond that of just a sharpshooter, into a great all-around player. 

Senior Sabrina Yang and junior Alex Grombchevsky will continue to split time at point guard, but with the departure of Anna Cheng, they will now also see a lot of time on the court together. 

Supporting those guards off the bench is defensive standout senior Brisa Campos and sophomore Alicia Mendoza, whose game is really starting to blossom. Also, off the bench to give depth in the post is junior Elaina Seybold, who provides strong physical play and the athletically gifted junior Ella Walker, who is coming off a huge year leading the JV team.

The team is senior heavy and extremely experienced. They are expecting to be even more competitive and successful this season than last. 

The Breakers are off to an impressive 8-1 start, winning their first seven in a big way, beating Rancho Alamitos, 66-24; Magnolia, 48-29; Costa Mesa twice, 54-14 and 56-18; Legacy College Prep, 73-10; Loara, 61-16; and, get this, Capistrano Valley, 57-0.

That being said, Laguna Beach ran into a stout Northwood team on Monday, losing rather handily, but they immediately rebounded to beat Santa Ana Tuesday, to push their record to 8-1. 

They again played Legacy College Prep last evening (after deadline) and shouldn’t have had any troubles, considering they beat them earlier in November by 63 points. Next up is Pomona tonight, 6 p.m., here at home. 

This team can play.

Might be worth the trip up or down the hill, whichever way you’re coming from to see them.

Hopefully, come February, there’ll be a lot to play for.

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Students learn about rustic life at El Morro Harvest Festival

Students at El Morro Elementary School are participating in a two-day Harvest Festival. Kindergarten/TK, third and fourth graders enjoyed a variety of hands-on activities yesterday (Monday, Nov. 21) and today (Tuesday, Nov. 22), 1st, 2nd and 5th graders will each spend an hour learning about our country’s beginnings, Pilgrims and Native Americans and their rustic lifestyle of hunting, sewing, leatherwork and candle making.

Parents, family members and teachers are assisting with the activities as volunteers. 

Students learn boy with turkey

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Photos courtesy of El Moro Elementary School

This youngster is going on a turkey hunt

Students learn girl with bow

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She is learning to pull a bow

Students learn boy with drum

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Understanding rhythms by beating a drum 

Students learn Benson sewing

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Volunteer Laura Benson, whose grandson attends El Morro, is helping a student sew a pillow

Students learn rustic

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The rustic life was reflective of our country’s humble beginnings

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Anneliese Schools hires Nourishment Program Director Chef Andrew Johnson

Anneliese Schools has hired Chef Andrew Johnson to join their staff as the school’s new Nourishment Program Director. Chef Johnson brings to this role more than three decades of knowledge working in, and around, professional kitchens, higher education, healthcare and local farms. In this role, he will be managing the culinary program for all three Anneliese Schools campuses and the school’s satellite regenerative and organic farm, Rebel Mountain.

He has an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts, Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management and an MBA with a focus in sustainability. He is also a certified Master Food Preserver from the University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources and holds certificates as Servsafe manager/instructor/proctor, and HACCP manager and aquaponics.

Anneliese schools hires Chef Andrew Johnson

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Courtesy of Anneliese Schools

Nourishment Program Director Chef Andrew Johnson

“I look forward to building upon the school’s long-standing Nourishment Program,” said Johnson. “I believe in a whole-food approach to nutrition, growing our own food, choosing local food producers and the holistic concept of foods as medicine.”

Chef Johnson’s first job upon moving to California in 2010 was as director and culinary instructor at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute, Orange County. Most recently, he has operated a personal chef and dietitian business, Kitchen Curative – in-home and delivered meal services, catering and cooking classes. He is the Culinary Medicine Chef for MaxLove Project, which teaches cooking classes for cancer survivor families. In conjunction with MaxLove, he authored a forthcoming cookbook. Johnson was also employed as a chef in residence for The Ecology Center, and managed the urban agriculture demonstration garden with the City of Irvine’s Great Park @ the Farm + Food Lab.

“I am excited to apply this experience to my role at Anneliese Schools, and to continue implementing the school’s existing Wellness Manifesto into the culinary program, with its goal of incorporating more organic produce, including campus-grown produce, and hot items into our snack and lunch program offerings,” Johnson said. “Some of my first initiatives will be to start offering more school-made fermented items like kombucha, sauerkrauts, pickles, cheeses and sourdough, more locally pressed oils, school-made bone broths and soups, and to maximize the use of produce from Rebel Mountain Farm. I will also be joining students each week at Rebel Mountain, integrating culinary experiences into these field trips.

“In the coming months, I will be offering family culinary workshops and education around fermented foods, sustainability, regional sourcing, pasture-humanely raised animals, healthy fats and taste development. I will be actively interacting with students at the lunch tables to educate, inspire and learn from them.”

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

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