Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach joins the global #GivingTuesday Movement 

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Occurring this year on Nov 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tues after Thanksgiving (in the US) after the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the holiday giving season. The hope is to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. 

“We’ve joined the #GivingTuesday movement because our programming delivery depends on the generous donations of our friends in the community, “says CEO Pam Estes. She adds, “Donations, no matter what the amount, make a difference and are vitally important as these funds will touch the lives of hundreds of children and families served each year. 

“We all win when a child has quality afterschool and summer camp programs. The impact is not only visible in the young people that show up to the Club every day, but in our alumni, who are advancing their education, energizing their communities, and realizing their dreams.” 

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(L-R) LBBGC Giving Tuesday Preschoolers Luke Stedman, Maylen Torres, J. Carlos Zaragoza

A cultural center in New York City, conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2016, the fifth year of #GivingTuesday, millions of people in 98 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $177 million was raised online to benefit a broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness. 

Those who are interested in joining the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

Lexi McKeown, volleyball player extraordinaire: A special tribute to one of Stu’s favorite families

Mom Kathy McKeown wrote a very personal note to Stu News, wishing that Stu were still around to witness her daughter Lexi’s success. “Wish Stu were here to get to see her get to this point after you two [Stu and Shaena] so graciously supported her throughout her journey,” Kathy wrote. 

So, with Stu in mind, we thought we’d publish Lexi’s story in full, as written by her proud mom.

“Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land within the stars”…and there’s not a game or practice where this player does not aim high, giving a 100 percent effort of herself and to her teammates. 

Fondly referred to as McCutie, the Empire Spikes Back, the Lexinator and McKillin, Lexi McKeown is a four-year LBHS Varsity veteran starting player and is saying goodbye this season to her six years spent on the indoor court playing in the gold division for T Street, Momentous and Laguna Beach Volleyball clubs.  

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska/
Blue Sky Studio

Lexi and proud mom Kathy

Next fall Lexi is headed to Florida State University on an academic/athletic scholarship where she will have her toes in the sand playing beach volleyball for the Division 1 number 4 nationally ranked Seminoles. Show us your tomahawk Lex! 

One of the top 2018 beach players in the nation, Lexi finished fifth in the BVCA, third in the USA Spring Open, second in the AAU Spring Classic, played first seed for the championship winning Los Angeles ICG Club in the AAU Power Elite league, fifth out of 56 U18 players in the annual Hermosa Beach Queen of the Beach Invitational tournament, first in the Junior Beach Volleyball League Series tournament #1, first in the U18 College Showcase gold division and second in the East Coast National Junior Championships.

When she’s not playing volleyball she’s either watching Netflix or studying..which has obviously been quite a bit over the last four years…she currently has a 4.5 GPA and plans on majoring in Biological Sciences with aspirations to go into the field of medicine, or star on Grey’s Anatomy.

Two time Varsity captain, second team all-league as a sophomore, Orange Coast league academic scholar athlete each year, last year’s MVP of the league and of the Varsity team, 2016 Max Preps Laguna Beach Player of the Year, and the Orange County Register Varsity Athlete of the Week in October, Lexi is a second-generation volleyball scholarship athlete; her mom, Kathy, also an LBHS grad, was awarded a full ride volleyball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. 

Lex, your family is so very proud of you and we admire the genuine passion, perseverance and integrity you represent. You already sit among the stars, sweet girl, and we look forward to watching you shine brighter and brighter!

NCAA Signing Day at LBHS: Your community is proud of you all

The community gathered on the quad at LBHS Wednesday morning to celebrate the signing of letters of intent by 12 LBHS senior student-athletes, marking the culmination of 10+ years of dedication and hard work by these extraordinary young women and men.

Parents and grandparents were on hand to celebrate – as well as hundreds of LBHS students, who could be heard hootin’ and hollerin’ as their friends’ names and final college choices were announced over the PA system.

Seven girls water polo players signed their letters of intent – including Thea Wash (Stanford), Sophia Lucas (USC), Evan Tingler (Harvard), Alana Evans (Princeton), Isabel Riches (Brown), Kyla Whitelock (Fresno State), and Danielle Borelli (McKendree University). Diver Liv Mitchell signed her letter of intent to Brown, while swimmer Kasey Karkoska signed hers to Columbia. Girls sand volleyball player Lexi McKeown signed to Florida State, boys volleyball player Sam Bergi signed to UCLA, and rowing coxswain Jessica Morrell signed to UCSD.


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Photos by Kristin Karkoska/

Blue Sky Studio

(L to R) Liv Mitchell, Evan Tingler, Isabel Riches, Alana Evans, and Kasey Mitchell were all smiles Wednesday after signing their NCAA letters of intent in front of the community

Water polo standout Thea Walsh, an All-County goalie, will join former LBHS teammates (and USA Gold Medal Olympians) Makenzie and Aria Fischer at Stanford, which ’09 LBHS grad and USA Gold Medal Olympian Annika Dries also attended. When asked about her choice, Walsh said: “It’s literally been my dream school since 8th grade.”


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Thea Walsh, pictured here with her parents, will join former LBHS teammates Makenzie and Aria Fischer at Stanford next year

Sand volleyball star Lexi McKeown said she chose Florida State because of the “bricks and trees.” She wanted something different than Laguna, but still wanted to feel at home. “Every building [at FSU] is brick, and the trees are just so beautiful too. The moment I stepped on campus, I knew it was right for me.”

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A Seminole and a Lion: Lexi McKeown and Kasey Mitchell

The event was one of three NCAA Signing Day events scheduled by LBHS this year, with other signings in other sports to be celebrated later in the school year.

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Sam Burgi, who will play volleyball at UCLA next year, with his mother Lori

LBHS Surf Team battles Dana Hills and comes up with a giant win, dominates Aliso Niguel

Written by coaches Scott Finn and Alisa Cairns

The Laguna Beach High School Surf Team battled Dana Hills at Salt Creek last Thursday with classic conditions and surf in the five foot range. The event was a League event and the second meeting for the season. Many of the Laguna surfers found success and were key to the win, but you could say the MVP was Travis Booth with a runner up spot in Short Board and a crucial second in Bodyboard. 

Meanwhile our Girls team did their part with Kayla Coscino another MVP, taking the shortboard win and a second in Longboard, while Kalohe Danbara and Kelly Smith went 2, 3 in shortboard and Claire Kelly took third in Longboard. Laguna was out in front with numerous top results. 

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MVP Kayla Coscino

In Boys Shortboard Trey Lockhart, Sam Nelsen, Jeremy Shutts and Jake Levine all had wins and Kiko Nelsen had the wave of the day to take a very close second. Jett North did well to take a fourth. We have had a tough time in our Longboard and Bodyboard Divisions and the team has all rallied hard to fill the gaps with some of the surfers doing double duty. It came down to the last heat of the day with the Bodyboarders hitting the water. At the first meeting with Dana we had a chance to tie and just came up short and this time it looked like it might happen again. But as it turned out Travis Booth pulled through with a great Bodyboard performance and his second place finish was enough to give the Team an eight-point win 87/79 overall, the first time taking the win in a very long time.

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MVP Travis Booth

Day two, last Friday saw the team dominate Aliso Niguel in a non-league scrimmage. Several of the usual suspects had top performances, while some new younger kids also got in the mix and came in with some great results. 

Sam and Kiko Nelsen took wins as did Jake Levine, while Travis Booth took a couple of seconds in Boys Shortboard and Bodyboard once again. Jeremy Shutts displayed some nice surfing and took a second in shortboard while his brother Andrew took fourth in Bodyboard. Jameson Roller surfed nicely in Longboard to take a second.

Trey Lockhart took another win while his brother a Freshman took second and Jett North took a third. Several new surfers saw action led by Joseph Schenk who had some nice rides to take second in shortboard, while Lucas Jablon and Julian Williams-Goldberg took thirds and Zac Henderson had a fourth in Longboard. Our Girls did awesome once again with Kalohe Danbara taking the win, while Tess Booth was close behind finishing in second in Shortboard and third in Longboard and Kelly Smith took a third in Shortboard.

A big thank you goes out to all the parents and friends who showed up to support our Laguna kids.Our next event will be another League Event at T-Street on Friday, Nov 3 against San Clemente.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillespie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

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