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Boys & Girls Club will host “racy” 18th Annual Art of Giving Gala on May 12 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is proud to present their 18th Annual Art of Giving Gala – “And We’re Off!” – on Saturday, May 12 at Montage Laguna Beach. This is an event you will not want to miss, organizers say. The Club invites guests to participate in an evening that will have a Kentucky Derby-style take on Laguna Beach. 

Invitees are encouraged to dress to impress and pull out all of the stops when selecting a suit or dress for the big night. It is a chance for every female to express her inner Southern Belle, and every guy to get just as decked out as the ladies. 

Take note and do not hold back when planning your Kentucky Derby-themed wardrobe. Guests will get to indulge in the experience of this iconic American event at the finest resort. Guests will start the evening on the Montage lawn with tasty morsels and signature Southern cocktails. 

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Submitted Photo

Join the Boys & Girls Club 18th Annual Art of Giving Gala for a night of “racy” fun

The evening will continue with an elegant dinner and rousing live auction followed by dancing to some live music that will make guests feel like they are partying it up at the Downs. 

This promises to be one of the events of the year, and a chance to generously support the Club and its some 2,000 youth members and families. Proceeds raised at the 18th annual Art of Giving Gala go directly towards empowering children of all ages to reach their full potential, no matter their financial situation. 

For more information about the Gala includint tickets or table sponsorships, contact Michelle Ray Fortezzo at (949) 494-2535 ext. 7584 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Club website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.


LBHS Baseball continues awesome winning streak, comes back to defeat tough Estancia team, 6-5

By MIKE MORGAN

LBHS Baseball (5-0 League, 9-4 Overall) continues to roll, posting a 6-5 come-from-behind victory yesterday over a very tough Estancia team at home.

The Breakers’ day did not start well. The team was riding a 29-consecutive scoreless inning streak coming into the game (and had outscored its last five opponents 57-1), but visiting Estancia jumped on Laguna early and hard for five runs in the first inning. 

Ultimately, though, the Breakers could not be held back. Their pitching stopped Estancia the rest of the game and their offense came to life at just the right time. Grady Morgan capped Laguna’s comeback with a dramatic bases loaded double in the bottom of the 6th, completing the team’s epic comeback.

Two innings earlier, Jack Loechner and Eric Silva got the Breakers started with back-to-back singles. Christian Holm then got the Breakers’ scoring started, lining an RBI double to left, scoring Loechner. Silva and Holm would later score that inning on wild pitches, cutting the lead to 5-3 headed into the 5th.

Kolton Freeman brought the score to 5-4 with a monster solo homerun to left, leading off the bottom of the 6th. Loechner followed with another single, Silva and Michael Kerner both then walked, loading the bases for Morgan with one out. With two strikes on him, Morgan drove a curveball down the right field line to lift the Breakers to the 6-5 victory.

Silva (1-1) earned the win on the mound for Laguna, pitching the last 1 1/3 innings to finish the game. Blake Burzell started the game, throwing 4 innings with 6 strikeouts. Joe Sweet pitched 1 2/3 effective innings in relief, striking out 3.

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Photo by Sheri Morgan 

Jared Angus, LBHS Junior, put up a stellar game defensively at shortstop

Earlier in the week on Tuesday, LBHS defeated Costa Mesa 11-0. 

Loechner dominated on the mound, shutting down Costa Mesa on two hits over five innings of work. Cutter Clawson and Remy Mackel each worked one inning of relief to secure what was the fourth consecutive shutout for Laguna.

Christian Holm led Laguna with three hits, Silva added a key bases loaded double for three RBIs, while Clawson and Grady Morgan each added two hits with Morgan scoring three runs. 

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Photo by Sheri Morgan 

Christian Holm, LBHS Senior, went 3-for-4 against Costa Mesa 

Last Friday, Blake Burzell (4-0) started on the mound and pitched five no hit innings, striking out eight en route to an 11-0 victory over Godinez.

Joe Sweet and Cutter Clawson were equally dominating in their single innings of work, with three strikeouts each. Morgan and Loechner both contributed three hits and three RBIs on the day. Morgan hit his fourth homer in five games. Sawyer Chesley also had three hits. 

Laguna will be busy over Spring Break, playing four games in the Ryan Lemmon Invitational Tournament in Irvine against top Orange County Teams. The Breakers start off with a night game this Saturday against Trabuco Hills at 5:30 p.m. at Windrow - W2, followed by a morning game on Monday against at Roosevelt at 8:15 a.m. at Windrow - RLS, before finishing off pool play against El Modena on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. at Cypress Park. The results of these three games will determine who and when the team will play in its fourth and final game in the tourney on Wednesday.


A big week for Boys Golf too – two tournament wins

LBHS Boys Golf competed in the Estancia Golf Tournament at Costa Mesa Country Club on Monday, notching a historic victory for the program by placing first in the 21-team field. 

This was a modified Stableford Scoring tournament whereby each high school brings just four players. Each player plays his own ball, and the team is awarded one point for a par, three points for a birdie, five points for an eagle, and 10 points for a hole in one or double eagle.

Laguna was represented by Kyle Sharp, Chase Gioffredi, Gus Morck and Ben Sharp. The foursome scored a total of 83 points, including five points on the last hole, which moved them in front of Newport Harbor for first place. Newport Harbor finished in second place with 81 points. 

The Breakers’ win with 83 points was a new tournament scoring record. In addition, both Kyle Sharp and Gus Morck won the “closest to the hole” contest on two of the par three holes.

“All the Laguna players shot fantastic low rounds, playing their own ball over 18 holes,” said Head Golf Coach Sean Quigley. “It all came together on the same day for each of our players; they were scoring on every hole and it just never stopped. It’s nice for these guys to win a tournament, which isn’t easy to do. It’s probably the high point of their high school careers in golf so far.” 

Kyle Sharp shot a career low four under 68, and Gus Morck shot a career low of four over 76. Chase Gioffredi shot one over 73 and Ben Sharp shot three over 75.

Coach Quigley added, “In addition, a lot of the coaches from other schools are starting to notice that our guys can play at a high level this year. So we are getting our name out there. Hopefully we can keep it going into the CIF playoffs.” 

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Playing in the Estancia Tournament were (from left to right): Gus Morck, Kyle Sharp, Chase Geoffredi, and Ben Sharp (with assistant coach Tom Levinstein)

The whole team played Tuesday in an Orange Coast League match against Estancia at Aliso Viejo Country Club, a par 35 course. Laguna won the match by a score of 200-231. 

Chase Gioffredi captured his second medalist honors of the year shooting a two over par 37. 

The win brings the LBHS league record to 4-0 and the overall record to 6-3. Players’ scores included: Chase Gioffredi – 37, Kyle Sharp – 38, Gus Morck – 40, Ben Sharp – 42, Miles Stripling – 43, and Kyle Shaw – 57.


Boys & Girls Club announces Open House and Talent Search for “KidChella” festival, April 13

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is happy to announce an open-house music and arts festival, “KidChella”, celebrating the talents of our youth on Friday, April 13 from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. at the Canyon branch. 

This free public event will be a sensory overload full of music and dancing demonstrations, tasty food, and so much more. It will prove to be the ultimate celebration of talent, invoking every child’s freedom of expression and free spirit. 

The Club continues to look for school-age performers, grades Kindergarten through 12th. If interested, please reach out to event organizer, Jesus Villegas, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 494-2535 x7940. 

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Boys & Girls Club talented performers, Layla Yee and Christian Barriga

The Club will have games available and, of course, the talent showcase – singing, dancing, magic tricks etc. – and all are welcome to be a part of the event. The talent show portion is open to all youth in the community, no membership is required to participate, and friends and family are invited to attend as well.

KidChella is also an opportunity for the community to check out the organization’s 24,000 square foot facility as they prepare for jam-packed, fun-filled summer camp programs beginning June 25 at all three branches – with weekly, all-day (7 a.m. – 6 p.m.) rates as low as $150 per week, $40 per day. 

For more information, please contact guest services at (949) 494-2535 or visit the Club website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.


Laguna Beach Boys Tennis had a big winning week

Last week, LBHS Boys Tennis served up winning matches across the board for both Varsity and JUV.

The match-up on Tuesday was a Varsity win against Costa Mesa 17-1. On Wednesday, the Varsity had another blow out against Estancia, 14-4. And on Thursday, March 29, Varsity swept Godinez 18-0.

“Estancia is our closest league rival and we lost only four matches coming out 14 to four,” explained Varsity coach Rick Conkey. “After Thursday’s win against Godinez, Varsity is ranked ninth in Southern California.”

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Photo by Nic Radisay

LBHS Boys JV Tennis team lines up for match against Godinez High School (left to right): Zack Koster, Taro Sakai, Jake Rasmussen, Miles Riehl, Julius Heide, Jack Lubin, Alex Chang, Liam Rafary, Tyler Davis, Kidd Stablein, Gavin Childs, Luke Goldsine, Evan Henry, and Nikolai Reid

Junior Varsity won their two matches last week also; on Tuesday versus Costa Mesa, it was a 10-8 win, and on Thursday, the team outpaced Godinez 15-3.


Grapes for Grads – Laguna’s finest wine tasting and scholarship fundraiser – is coming up April 22

On Sunday, April 22 from 12 – 4 p.m., the Rotary Club of Laguna Beach will host the 13th annual Grapes for Grads, Laguna’s Largest Annual Wine Tasting Event, presented by Lippa Insurance. The event will be held at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts grounds, located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road.

Grapes for Grads will feature wines from around the world including Argentina, California, France, Italy, New Zealand and more. Attendees may taste as many wines as they like while enjoying live music by “Magnolia Memoir,” art demonstrations by the students of Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD), and delicious food provided by the Wine Gallery. 

With 65-80 wine labels expected to bring more than 100 wines, the $50 flat fee (advance purchase) at www.GrapesForGards.com makes this premier wine tasting event a great deal. 

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Photo by Bear Flag Photography

Sampling wines – for a good cause – hosted by Lofti Nedjar

Combining wine, food, live music, live art demonstrations, a silent auction, raffle and opportunity drawing, Grapes for Grads is a self paced yet highly interactive event and one of the most highly anticipated wine tasting events in Laguna Beach of the year.

“This year we again have great food supplied by Chris Olsen at the Wine Gallery which we believe is a perfect fit. We have also been so fortunate to have the support of the wine industry for the past 13 years. Their support and the support of our sponsors, such as Lippa Insurance, has assisted us in providing over $260,000 in scholarships since we held our inaugural event. The biggest supporters have been the community. We are truly thankful for the support,” explains chair Jeffrey Redeker.

Grapes for Grads provides scholarships to college bound students from Laguna Beach High School and students currently enrolled at LCAD. The focus is on students who show excellence in academics or art coupled with a commitment to community service but may also require financial assistance to achieve their educational goals. Grapes for Grads receives more than 160 scholarship applications each year.

Photo by Bear Flag Photography

Girls just wanna have grapes…

Each year a student artist from LCAD is selected to create the Grapes for Grads logo. This year’s logo design winner, Alejandro Serrano said, “It was a tremendous privilege to be given the opportunity to design the logo for the 2018 Grapes for Grads Scholarship Fundraiser. Being part of this project blessed me in more ways than I imagined. I was able to partake in an event that helps fellow art student follow their dreams.”

Alejandro’s design will be printed on all of the event promotional materials including flyers, print ads, signs and t-shirts at the event.

Grapes for Grads admission is $50 in advance and $60 at the door. Attendees must be 21 to enter. Additional event features include: an opportunity drawing for a two-night stay at the fabulous Tides Inn at Laguna, wine tree opportunity drawing and other prizes. 

Tickets may be purchased online at www.GrapesForGrads.com or by contacting Jeffrey Redeker at (949) 371-7595.


Laguna Beach Unified School District presents Julie Lythcott-Haims

On Wednesday, May 2, the Laguna Beach Unified School District invites the community to LBUSD Presents: Julie Lythcott-Haims at the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre. 

The event will feature a keynote presentation from New York Times bestselling author Julie Lythcott-Haims, formerly the dean of freshmen at Stanford University, discussing strategies for raising children to become independent, resilient, and goal-oriented adults. 

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Julie Lythcott-Haims

The event, free and open to the public, will feature light refreshments beginning at 5 p.m. and childcare for children in grades TK - 5. The keynote presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by specialized breakout sessions with LBUSD counselors, psychologists, and student support specialists addressing topics relevant to academic, career, and personal and social success. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to select one of the following breakout sessions to attend following the keynote and Q & A: 

Student-Centered Choices in Middle School 

High School Counselor Q & A for Parents 

Managing Parenting Stress Through a Growth Mindset

Supporting Students K-5 with Our Social Emotional Learning Curriculum: Second-Step

Growing Up iGen: What Parents Need to Know About Technology Usage, and Ways to Support Healthy Development 

The Yes Brain & Adolescence 

“LBUSD Presents: Julie Lythcott-Haims” will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. at 625 Park Ave. Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to register by Wednesday, April 25 at www.lbusd.org/lbusdpresents.

 


Laguna Beach Water Polo Foundation hosts first Annual Lawn Bowling Tournament fundraiser, April 20

         Laguna Beach Water Polo Foundation has announced their first Lawn Bowling Tournament fundraiser. This unique event will be held Friday, April 20, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club, 455 Cliff Drive, in beautiful Heisler Park. 

Lawn Bowling is a game played with heavy balls, the object of which is to propel one’s ball, so that it comes to rest as close as possible to a previously bowled small ball (the jack). Lawn bowling is played chiefly outdoors (although an indoor version is also popular in the UK) on a closely trimmed lawn called a green. 

LB Lawn Bowling Club in Heisler Park

Upon entering the tournament, individuals will be placed into teams of four. Before the tournament begins, the coaches from the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club will show participants how to properly play the game. After a few practice rounds, the tournament will begin. 

The tournament will be run in bracket-play. Once all teams are entered (teams must be entered by April 18), the brackets will be displayed at the event. There will be a taco cart, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. By purchasing a tournament entry or social ticket, attendees will receive a wrist band for a taco plate and access to the open bar. There will be a few raffle prizes, so participants should get ready to purchase raffle tickets. 

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LB Water Polo Foundation in Patriots Day Parade

From Olympic gold medalists to NCAA and age group national champions, Laguna Beach Water Polo Foundation (LBWPF) has produced some of the best water polo players in the United States. Boys and girls from eight to 14 years of age achieve a better understanding of the water polo game as they practice and improve on the fundamental techniques in preparation for the Junior Olympic national championships each July. 

For more information, go to lagunabeachwaterpolo.com or contact Foundation General Manager Robert Grayeli at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LBUSD wins Digital School Districts Survey 2017-2018 recognition by Center for Digital Education

The Center for Digital Education has recognized Laguna Beach Unified School District as a Digital School Districts Survey 2017-2018 winner for its innovative technology and digital learning initiatives. 

The Digital School Districts Survey awards the US public school boards and districts that most fully implement technology benchmarks in the evolution of digital education, as represented in the survey questions.

“Over the last five years, I’ve watched our staff and students create a culture of digital collaboration, working together to build inspiring learning spaces while using technology to solve real-world problems,” said Laguna Beach Unified School District Chief Technology Officer Michael Morrison. He continued, “We work together every day determined to achieve excellence, and that makes winning this award even more satisfying.”

The Center for Digital Education (CDE) is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding. CDE provides education and industry leaders with decision support and actionable insights to help effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. 

Now in its 14th year, the Digital School Districts Survey Awards recognize districts that are innovating in exemplary ways by investing in tools and learning models for next-generation learners. 

Winners of the 2017-18 Digital School Districts Survey Awards are recognized by the Center for Digital Education at the National School Boards Association’s annual conference each spring.


Laguna Beach Breakers drop three out of four at Ryan Lemmon Spring Invitational

By MIKE MORGAN

Laguna Beach Breakers opened up the Spring Break Ryan Lemmon Invitational Tournament with a dramatic comeback win against Trabuco Hills 7-6. The game was highlighted by an RBI single by Kolton Freeman in the top of the 7th, scoring Eric Silva with the tie breaking run.  

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Photo by Shari Morgan

Pitcher Joe Sweet

Silva, entering as pitcher in the bottom of the 6th, then retired Trabuco in the bottom of the 7th, to secure the win for Laguna. Laguna jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, capped by Christian Holm’s two RBI’s in the first, but Trabuco came right back in the bottom of the first to pull within 4-3. 

Trabuco took the lead in the bottom of the 4th with three more runs to pull ahead 6-4. Laguna’s Holm drove in two more runs in top of the 5th, to tie the score and set up Freeman to win it in the 7th. Injuries played a role in the outcome of the game, when Laguna’s Cutter Clawson had to leave the mound after facing just three batters in the first. Joe Sweet and Kent Cebreros both pitched very well to keep Laguna in the game.

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Photo by Shari Morgan

Jack Loechner sliding into base

Laguna was matched up against Roosevelt in the second game of the tournament, and despite a hard fought game, Laguna fell 5-3. Jack Loechner and Kolton Freeman led the way with multiple hits for the Breakers. Remy Mackel started the game on the mound and kept the Breakers close through four innings. Justin Holm was handed the loss in three innings of relief. Breakers defense had a rough day and contributed to the loss with three errors.

The third game of the tournament pitted the Breakers against a highly regarded El Modena squad. El Modena took the lead early, jumping ahead 2-0 in the second inning.  Laguna came back in the third on a single by Grady Morgan and a walk to Eric Silva.  Both Breakers came around, scoring on some nice base running, tying the score 2-2, despite just one hit in the inning. 

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Photo by Shari Morgan

Freshman Pitcher Eric Silva

Jack Loechner pitched well for Laguna, surrendering just five hits on the day, but El Modena played precise baseball and was able to score five times, defeating the Breakers 5-2. Defense was once again a rough spot for Laguna, committing four errors on the day. Morgan led Laguna with two hits.

The final game of the tournament matched up Laguna with a tough Capistrano Valley team in a consolation game of the Ryan Lemmon tournament. Laguna jumped out early, scoring one run in the second and then three more in the third, to take a 4-1 lead.

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Photo by Shari Morgan

Third base Sawyer Chesley

Sawyer Chesley, Cutter Clawson, Eric Silva and Jack Loechner all contributed hits and scored to help take the early lead. Blake Burzell started on the mound and pitched four innings, striking out seven and giving up two unearned runs. Wes Witteman pitched one scoreless inning of relief, helping the Breakers to a 4-2 lead after 5 innings. However, Capo would score five times in the 6th, all runs unearned on the day, lifting Capo to a 7-4 victory. Justin Holm took the loss in relief.

The Breakers finish their Spring Break schedule matching up at Santa Margarita High School on Saturday, April 7 at 12 p.m. Laguna returns to league play next week with two games with rival Calvary Chapel.

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