ImageMakers photography exhibit highlights more than 200 examples of Boys & Girls Club’s best work

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is inviting the community to come see this year’s talented young photographers and regional selections as the Club holds its 2017 Annual ImageMakers Photography Exhibit at the Club’s Lang Branch in South Laguna on Jan 16. 

Everyone is welcome to join the Club on opening day to view the exhibit that will highlight more than 200 photos that will be on display. During the exhibit on opening day, the Club will also host a show opening for the whole family to enjoy together between 5 and 7 p.m. 

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Vallery, a member of the Boys and Girls Club, holds a sign encouraging kids to visualize, create, design and express through their photography

The Photography Exhibit is an opportunity for young minds to explore their creative sides and develop their artistic and technical skills by taking photos and much more. They get a chance to make art from the world around them and learn to look closely at what they see with a creative and imaginative eye. Throughout the year members have been participating in Photography Club and this annual exhibit is the selection of their best work. 

The first place pieces will go on to be judged at the Regional Exhibit, and then they go to National, where they have a chance to compete against more than 4,000 other Boys and Girls Clubs across America. Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has won nationally six times. 

The exhibit will be on display through Jan 20, so those interested should be sure to make time soon to see the exceptional work of these young and talented club members with this captivating display of photographs. 

For more information on the 2017 Annual ImageMakers Photography Exhibit, contact Art Director Karla Fandel at (949) 494-2535 ext. 7854, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach occupies three sites in Laguna; Main Branch, Bluebird Branch and Lang Branch. Together, they offer a nationally recognized and award winning year round enrichment program that focuses on the whole family.

For more information about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit or call 494-2535.

Cox Communications awards Thurston a $5,000 grant for the forensic/mock trial club for the second year

Cox Communications has awarded a $5,000 Innovation in Education grant to the forensic/mock trial club at Thurston Middle School. The grant program invited principals, administrators and teachers to submit a grant application for innovative classroom projects that focus on skills-based learning including STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Mathematics), digital literacy or cyber citizenship (responsibly using the Internet).

“We are very happy to know that Cox Communications will continue supporting our students on their projects,” said Thurston principal Jenny Salberg. “Saying that Michelle Martinez and her students have been doing amazing work is an understatement. I am always impressed by the quality of work the students produce inside and outside of the classroom.”

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Submitted photo

Members of Thurston’s forensic/mock trial club celebrate their award: L-R, Leah West, Faith Ackley, Michelle Martinez, Sophia Lander and Taylor Viloria

Using the funds for the new grant, Thurston students will focus on the environmental phenomena of decomposition of human cells in relation to ocean water currents and ecosystems. The crime scene will focus on underwater body rescue and retrieval as well as the basis of cell decomposition in ocean water environments.

“We are extremely grateful to receive the education grant again,” said teacher Michelle Martinez. “The students are so excited to see their ideas and innovations come to light and I’m excited to see them continue to grow personally and academically.”

The forensic/mock trial club has been a recipient of the Cox Communications Innovation Grant for the past two years. With this financial and technical support, Martinez has been able to use distance learning with Baylor University to incorporate first-hand teaching of criminal investigation and forensic analysis.

”By receiving this grant from Cox communication, Thurston forensics class and club will be able to merge forensic science and technology,” said eighth-grade student Sophia Lander. “We are all very excited for this new project!” 

The distance learning opportunity and forensics adventure for Thurston students began four years ago as a six weeks STEM project and has grown into an afterschool club with about 40 students.

As the club gained more student interest over the years, the Board of Education approved the curriculum to be offered as an elective for Thurston students for the 2016-2017 school year.

“The class has allowed us to go more in-depth and students who weren’t in the club before are learning very quickly,” said Martinez. 

“It’s been a great experience for all of us!”

Rotary Club honors Autumn Geil as Student of the Month

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Photo by Rick Lang


Autumn Geil is the Rotary Club’s November student of the month

The Laguna Rotary Club recently honored Autumn Geil as November Student of the Month, representing the math department at LBHS.  Autumn is a National Merit Scholar, 2016 Girls State Representative, ROP Distinguished Student in the Arts, and has been on the superintendent’s Honor Roll 2013-2016.  

Autumn is also president of the Math Team and a five-year team player for the top 50 nationally ranked soccer team. She also enjoys competing in voice competitions each year.  

This high-achieving student plans to attend a four-year university with interests in Engineering, Math and Science.

LBHS Varsity Winter Sports Scoreboard

Boys Basketball

Blake Burzell scored 31 points Wednesday and Adam Armstrong added 10 as Laguna beat Dana Hills by 19 points, 64-45, in Dugger Gym.

The Breakers are now 4-2.

Boys Soccer

The Breakers and Crean Lutheran played to a 1-1 tie Wednesday.

Girls Soccer

Laguna scored three second half goals to pull away from Irvine, 4-1, Thursday.

Girls Water Polo


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