Anneliese Schools students win ENC Art Contest

Anneliese Schools students Sienna Gerges (7), Simone Gerges (5), Liesel “Bee” Hartmann (11), Peyton Stoik (11), Sonia Gupta (11), and Kate Chesanek (11) participated in the Environmental Nature Center’s Seventh Annual Ecosystems of California Youth Art Showcase.

The art featured at the ENC Art Showcase explored California’s diverse ecosystems, including its plants, animals, and people. Fine Arts have always been integral to Anneliese Schools’ curriculum and are taught to every student, from as young as two years old through 6th grade. 

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Submitted Photo

Sienna Gerges, holding “California Poppies”

Using a variety of art media, including charcoal, pencils, paint, pastels, ink, clay, wood, canvas, paper, and other mixed media, the School introduces students to multiple techniques, styles, and genres, while making frequent reference to Art History and the working life of artists today. Many of the School’s teachers have professional backgrounds in the arts, bringing an authentic passion for the disciplines of art and their importance in society. 

This particular show was near and dear to Anneliese Schools, which focuses on environmental stewardship and educating students to not only study local ecosystems at school, but to explore them through field trips to the ENC, coastal beaches and tide pools, as well as state and national parks. 

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Submitted Photo

Simone Gerges, holding “Rainbow over California Flower Field”

Mr. Joseph Gerges, who can be reached at

leads the 6th grade class in an intense art program, where they experiment with and explore color, line, and techniques. The paintings submitted to the Art Showcase by his students used acrylic on paper to create stunning seascapes of the California coast. In particular, Bee Hartmann received the 3rd place prize for her piece entitled Yosemite. Peyton Stoik received an Honorable Mention for his piece entitled Huntington Beach Pier at Dusk.

The youngest winners in this group also attend Anneliese Schools and are the talented daughters of Joseph Gerges. Sienna won the 1st place prize in her age group with her California Poppies. 

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Peyton Stoik, left,”Huntington Beach Pier at Dusk” and Liesel “Bee” Hartmann, “Yosemite”

Anneliese Schools was established in 1968 and is open year-round to children two years old through 6th grade at three different locations in Laguna Beach. For more information, visit

Three Laguna Beach High School seniors are National Merit® Scholarship winners

Laguna Beach High School seniors Charlotte Hoffs, Benjamin Sharp, and Joseph Ravenna were selected as winners of a National Merit® $2,500 Scholarship. The scholarship is underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) with its funds.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) – which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year – and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

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National Merit Scholarship winners Charlotte Hoffs and Joseph Ravenna with Principal Jason Allemann (not pictured, Benjamin Sharp)

“Our National Merit Scholars have consistently challenged themselves with rigorous courses, putting in the time, dedication, and hard work to earn this recognition,” said Laguna Beach High School Principal Dr. Jason Allemann. He continued, “Our finalists are to be commended in their efforts to achieve this honor that few students obtain.”

The National Merit Scholarships are supported by some 420 independent sponsors, in addition to NMSC’s funds. To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC selectors evaluate a variety of information including the Finalist’s academic record; information about the school’s curriculum and grading system; two sets of test scores; the high school official’s written recommendation; information about the student’s activities and leadership; and the Finalist’s essay.

TOW fifth grader Lyric Hagen wins LB Spelling Bee; Max Reimers, also TOW, takes second-place trophy

Fifth grade students from El Morro and Top of the World Elementary Schools met at Top of the World last Thursday night (May 3) to compete in the annual Laguna Beach Elementary Spelling Bee Finals, sponsored by PTA.   

Lyric Hagen won the championship, with Max Reimers taking home the second-place trophy, both from TOW.  

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Photo by Juliett Chesley

First Place Spelling Bee Champion Lyric Hagen (right) and runner-up Max Reimers, with judges Tom Fay (left), Kathleen Fay, and Jason Viloria.

Contestants were selected from earlier elimination rounds in which 12 finalists emerged from each school.  

Tom Fay served as the emcee and “pronouncer” for the bee, with LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria and PTA leader Kathleen Fay assisting as judges. The students and their families enjoyed ice cream sundaes together after the event.

Anneliese Schools Eagles Win DSL Soccer Championship

Anneliese Schools is proud to announce that its co-ed soccer team, led by Coach Jakob Gregersen, was crowned the Development Sports League (DSL) Champions last week. This is the first League title for the Anneliese Eagles and its community of nearly 600 students could not be more excited. 

The Eagles finished their season with an impressive record of eight wins and one loss, finishing nearly undefeated, and allowing only four goals to be scored against them the entire season. 

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Anneliese Eagles Soccer team: (Top row, left to right) Ainoah Feller-Braga, Aidan Kang, Weston Long, Nathan Jackson, Angelina O’Kula, Skylar Iller, Jack Miller, Coach Jakob Gregersen. (Middle row, left to right) Nayan Martlin, Sonia Gupta, Sienna Herdman, Annalyse Vasquez, Alex Stout. (Front row, left to right)

Michael Fuscaldo, Dakota Guzman, Anthony Saadeh.

The DSL is comprised of nine private schools throughout Orange County with student-athletes in 4th through 6th grades. The league offers co-ed soccer, boys flag football, boys and girls basketball, and boys and girls volleyball. Anneliese Schools athletes compete in all of these sports. 

Anneliese Schools has been offering after-school, competitive athletics to its students for the past three years, and to showcase this success so early on in the Program’s existence is quite a feat. Anneliese Schools is grateful for all the love and support its families and the community of Laguna Beach have shown the School and its athletic department.

Anneliese Schools was established in 1968 and is open year round to children two years old through 6th grade at three different locations in Laguna Beach, California. For more information, visit

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