El Morro Elementary School celebrates different abilities during Respect-ABILITY Month

Throughout the entire month of Oct, El Morro Elementary will celebrate different abilities in an effort to educate the school community about the value of a diverse and inclusive campus that supports all students regardless of individual differences.

Together, the El Morro Character Counts Crew and Ability Awareness parent volunteers organized a month filled with guest speakers, special events, and assemblies that create an environment where students, teachers, staff, and community members are provided with an opportunity to look beyond any physical or hidden challenges that a person might have.

“My goal for El Morro Elementary School is to create a school culture of respect, inclusion, and acceptance,” said Chris Duddy, principal at El Morro.

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Principal Chris Duddy stands by the principle that no one should be bullied

Events include a respectABILITY assembly and a day of unity on National Anti-Bullying Day, with the entire campus community invited to wear orange.

“As much as we like to believe that we live in a society that is accepting of those with different abilities, that isn’t always the case. I know this firsthand because I’m the mother of a special needs child. My daughter has autism and simple things that most people take for granted, like going grocery shopping or playing at a park, can be tremendously overwhelming for us,” said Alicia Glass, El Morro PTA Special Education Liaison.

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Recess should be time for fun, with no bullying

Glass added, “Special needs families are unbelievably strong; we can handle the public meltdowns and aggression with grace, but you never truly get used to the stares or rude comments. For this reason, I developed the concept for Respect-Ability Month. It is my hope that if we can educate children, parents, and teachers on, not only what these different conditions look like, but how to best approach and assist those with different abilities, that perhaps one day families like mine will be able to take our children out in public or send them to school without fear of judgment.”

In support of this effort, the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education approved Resolution 17-21, Support for National Bullying Prevention Month, to help align El Morro’s character counts pillar of respect with Oct National Bullying Prevention Month.

LBHS teacher receives 2017 Linda Kearns Community Service Award from the OCSAPN 

On Oct 6, the Orange County Substance Abuse Prevention Network, otherwise known as the OCSAPN, presented Mindy Hawkins, an LBHS teacher, with the 2017 Linda Kearns Community Service Award at its annual conference in Anaheim.

OCSAPN works to promote and enhance the quality, quantity, coordination, and cooperation of positive youth development programs and prevention services in Orange County. The award honors those who best exemplify true and selfless dedication to the field of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, violence, HIV/AIDS, and teen pregnancy prevention as well as positive youth development strategies in Orange County.

“What a well-deserved honor for OCSAPN to bestow upon our very own, Mindy Hawkins, for her work with our students and families in the area of alcohol, drug, and tobacco prevention,” said Robert Billinger, assistant principal at LBHS. “Mindy works tirelessly to educate our students by creating opportunities that empower and support healthy life choices both at school and in our community.”

Hawkins works to ensure that LBHS is an inclusive community

Hawkins, a special education teacher who has served as a PAL advisor for six years, works to ensure that LBHS is an inclusive community of students who value and care for one another.

“Teaching the Peer Leadership class at the high school has truly been a highlight of my years at LBHS. We have enjoyed amazing partnerships and collaborations with so many agencies in our community as we have worked together to support all of our students in making healthy life choices, emotionally, socially, and physically,” said Hawkins. She went on, “I really feel that this award should go to my students who have stepped out of their comfort zones and created campaigns, videos, and activities to support positive choices on our campus.”

Hawkins’ PAL program has leveraged a number of strategies to engage students and staff, including student-made videos, kindness and gratitude campaigns, prevention activities, new-student luncheons, and a cultural exchange program featuring visitors from Japan.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts Pack 35 visits the city’s marine safety headquarters

Last Tuesday, on October 10, Laguna Beach Cub Scout Pack 35 was honored to get their first peek at what’s behind those black sun shaded windows of our city’s marine safety headquarters located at the very north end of Main Beach.

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Cub Scouts pack 35

Marine Safety Officers Porter Hogan and Julia Crowley gave the scouts a seminar on what it’s like to be a lifeguard. Since both officers grew up in the area, the Cub Scouts could relate to their career path and were even excited to find out that Officer Hogan had earned his Eagle Scout rank as a Scout. The boys were very inspired.

The Officers educated them about safety in and out of the ocean, how to read wave sets, and the most important dangers to look out for on the beach. 

The Cub Scouts got a tour of the entire two-story facility including the lifeguard changing room, stingray wound bath room, and the incredible dispatch center that they’ve always wanted to see. 

One of the Cub Scouts, Mason Bruderer, exclaimed, “Wow this is the highlight of our year!”

2017 Round Robin Volleyball Tournament (formerly King & Queen of the Beach) is now open for sign ups 

The 2017 Laguna Round Robin Tournament will take place on Oct 21 and 22. The men’s section opens on Sat, Oct 21 at 8:30 a.m. for check in, while men’s “B” will be on Sun, Oct 22, at 8:30 a.m. The women’s section will open on Sun, Oct 22 at 8:30 a.m., while women’s “B” will be on Sat, Oct 21, at 8:30 a.m. 

There will be Gatorade, bananas, and prizes.

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Photo from CBVA

Volleyball players play in the fading light

These are fun, competitive tournaments in a round robin format. You’re guaranteed six games with six partners in pool play. The Open divisions are for strong players (but the Social division is still competitive.) Two rounds of seeded round-robin play are followed by single elimination playoffs.  Partners are earned via the playoffs. 

Youth players 14+ are welcome in the Open with a CBVA “A” rating or higher. Youth players 14+ are welcome in the Social divisions, but not beginners or low intermediates.  

The Tournament is sponsored by Skyloft and the City of Laguna Beach. Skyloft (422 S Coast Hwy) will be running special promotions during the tournament.

Sign up by paying with PayPal to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or visit www.CBVA.com. If you sign up and the roster is full, you will be notified and automatically moved to the wait list. Entry is $30 online, $45 day of the tournament.   

The tournament director reserves the right to move players based on level of play.

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