Boys & Girls Club announces AZUL employee recognition award winners 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach (BGCLB), Canyon branch presented the first annual “AZUL Leadership Awards” during the Youth of the Year Awards ceremony on Feb 2. These distinguished awards recognize the staff who demonstrate exceptional leadership beyond their position description and through accountable measures in their daily performance in 2017. AZUL stands for:  “Be the Change. Embody your ideals and set the cascade of transformation in motion. Empower PoZitivity. Positive mind, positive vibes, and positive life. 

The Boys & Girls club strive to create an environment that allows members to make positive choices. Youth-Centric. Embrace challenges that lead to a better experience for the kids and empower them to explore, discover, fail, and learn. If a kid can do it, a kid should do it. Embrace diversity. Foster a culture of respect, equality and inclusiveness, and celebrate that we are all unique beings. Creative togetherness. The sum of the parts (Innovation + collaboration) equal more than each quality on its own.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Sophia Abjuga

Staff had the opportunity to nominate their peers for these awards as a reflection on how they work, live and breathe these values to attain the Club’s goals each day.

“Our impact in providing creative and innovative programs in a safe, fun and engaging atmosphere is priceless for our youth,” states BGCLB Chief Operations Officer, Addie McHale, who also delivered the awards to the recipients.   She adds, “It takes each and every single member of our staff to bring our mission to fruition, and we are thrilled to have an avenue that enables staff to recognize their own team members for exceeding expectations in so many honorable ways, making these awards extra special.”

The 2017 Award Winners are,
Sophia Abjuga, Lang Unit Coordinator and a former a youth development professional, she (in less than 18 months) has demonstrated the desire to learn their new role, is approachable and friendly, participates with activities/meetings/events, and is involved with planning, safety, housekeeping and organizational improvements while embracing the mission.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Mar Stash

Mar Stash is the fine Arts Youth Development Professional/Creative Marketing Coordinator at Bluebird Branch, who consistently exhibits a positive, spirited “can-do” attitude and outlook, GREAT energy and enthusiasm that colleagues, club members, and volunteers (and others) alike find contagious and uplifting. Mar is the person that people are drawn to get the job done, and receive a motivational pep talk or a high five!

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Caitlin Reller

Art Expressions Director at the Canyon Branch, Caitlin Reller embraces impact, service, dedication, professionalism, accountability and compassion in dealing with internal or external customers (staff, kids, parents, partners, volunteers, guests, donors). In addition, Caitlin inspires an overall sense of belonging, usefulness, influence and competence that leads to a welcoming club/organization environment.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Jesus Villegas

Program Development Director at the Canyon Branch, Jesus Villegas exemplifies the kind of collaboration, teamwork and respect it takes to make others great! He leads by example, is passionate about the mission and helping their fellow employees succeed and reach their goals. 

The Boys & Girls club is thrilled to announce these winners and welcome the community to congratulate them on their achievements. For more information, contact Addie McHale at (949) 715-7669. To become a member, call (949) 494-2535 or go to

Laguna Beach High School counselor receives 2018 College Board recognition

Laguna Beach High School counselor Nichole Rosa has been recognized for her exemplary work as a professional school counselor in the Laguna Beach Unified School District by the College Board’s inaugural 2018 Counselor Recognition Program (CRP).

In an effort to showcase how school counselors throughout Orange County are making a difference in creating opportunities for all students, the College Board, in conjunction with the Orange County, California, Department of Education, launched its first Counselor Recognition Program. 

The award seeks to highlight the important work of innovative, results-oriented school counselors who exemplify excellence and commitment to student success and opportunity.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Nichole Rosa receives honor of College Board recognition 

“Mrs. Rosa and the entire counseling team offer amazing support, guidance and care for the students of Breaker Nation,” said Dr. Jason Allemann, principal at Laguna Beach High School. “It is great that our students are able to use the expertise and resources that our counselors have to offer them,” he added.

The evaluation committee selected Rosa for her commitment to ensure that all students have a specific, solid, and attainable plan upon graduation that includes postsecondary options. 

In addition, the committee praised Rosa for the framework she has built to support students’ comprehensive success by leveraging diverse partnerships with community organizations and individuals to disseminate critical information about financial aid and scholarships. 

As a recipient of the award, Rosa was presented with an all-expenses paid complimentary trip to the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Annual Conference in Los Angeles this July where winners will be recognized.

St. Catherine of Siena Parish School will celebrate their 60th anniversary with A Starry Night Gala 

On Fri, March 23, St. Catherine of Siena Parish School will celebrate its sixtieth anniversary at the Port Theater with A Starry Night Gala.  

There will be a live and silent auction, dancing, gaming and music by one of Orange County’s favorite DJs as well as delicious food and drinks. Cocktail attire is suggested. 

The event takes place at 6 p.m. The Port Theatre is located at 2905 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar. 

All funds raised will go directly towards school programs and facility needs.

“The Sixtieth Anniversary Starry Night Gala brings families together to build camaraderie, celebrate Saint Catherine of Siena Parish School and raise money to support the spiritual, academic and artistic development of our talented students,” said principal Mike Letourneau.

“Throughout the years, the event has raised money to support new academic, technology, artistic and faith programs that benefit all of our students, many of which would not have been possible without the generous support of our families, parishioners and local businesses.  

“Saint Catherine provides students from Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo and other surrounding communities with a strong academic education blended with the arts and faith that help our students develop into successful young adults. ”

St. Catherine’s is a 501 c (3) non-profit, Catholic elementary (TK -8) school located in Laguna Beach.

LBHS cleans up at Scholastic Surf Series Event #3 with individual champions Travis & Tess Booth and Jackson Jenkins

Written by coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn

     The LBHS Surf team members were very strong on Sunday at the Scholastic Surf Series Event #3 and made the Individual Finals in all four Divisions with multiple winners. Once again, with a smaller than normal group, many of the kids available competed successfully in multiple divisions.

Early in the morning In team competition LBHS was up against J Serra and did very well with most of the team advancing on to the Individuals, and we were able to take a big win 63 to 25. The event was held at Ninth St in Huntington Beach and the weather was gorgeous with hot offshore winds. The two-three foot surf was clean looking, but very difficult to ride.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Tess and Travis Booth

Once the Individual competition kicked in the LBHS surfers clearly stood out and were the surfers to beat. In Boys Shortboard, Travis Booth, Liam McCue and Jackson Jenkins all took wins advancing to the Finals. Once the Finals hit the water Travis continued to shred a number of lefts and rights and was on top of his game taking the overall win. He did double duty and took third in Bodyboard. 

Meanwhile Liam had some impressive rides and finished runner up, while Jackson was another surfer to take on multiple divisions with huge success, taking the win overall in Longboard and fourth in Shortboard. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Jackson Jenkins

Jameson Roller was a standout in several heats in Longboard, but in the end finished fourth. Tess Booth continued her run competing in both Shortboard and Longboard to take both big wins. Meanwhile Jade Howson took secon in Longboard and Kelly Smith took third in Shortboard, both putting in some nice rides. Other surfers to do well but not final were Sam Starr and Joseph Schenk.

The next Scholastic Surf Series event will be Feb 11 at San Clemente Pier.

Thank you to the kids who participated and the parents, and friends who helped out.

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.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc