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Laguna Beach Boys Scouts collected over 400 socks for the homeless 

Laguna’s Boy Scout Troop 35 and the congregation of its chartered organization, Laguna Presbyterian Church, collected socks for the homeless during the month of November. The service project was part of the Laguna Beach Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month outreach and brought in over 400 pairs of socks. 

Laguna Beach socks

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Troop 35 Amber Fox patrol members with the sock donations for the homeless in our community

The scouts advertised the service project through social media and at local schools, and had a great return. Of the more than 400 pairs of socks collected, 50 percent were for men, 30 percent were for women and 20 percent were for children. The socks included standard white and black socks as well as pastel colors, bold designs, and even two pairs of Mike Trout Angels socks. 

Laguna Beach Boy Scouts Troop 35 and Patrol meet every other Thursday at 7 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church. The troop is lead by Scoutmaster Clay Leeds. 

For more information, visit

School Board meeting agenda for tonight includes oath of office for re-elected Board members

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, Dec 11) regular LBUSD Board meeting has been posted online here. The meeting will begin at 5:45 PM with the oath of office for re-elected Board members Carol Normandin and Dee Perry (James Kelly is not able to attend and will be sworn in at the next LBUSD Board meeting). Open session will begin at 6 p.m. 

The Board will hear a report from Dr. Viloria and Dr. Keller on the district’s journey to a K-12 social-emotional learning system. Action items include the first interim budget report.

School Board tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tonight’s LBUSD meeting will provide the community with important school-wide updates

On August 21, LBUSD staff presented information regarding the Social Emotional Supports implemented at LBUSD schools during the 2017-2018 school year and ongoing services in 2018-2019. 

Staff members also presented at the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health regarding LBUSD implementation and more recently presented at the California School Boards Association Annual Education Conference. 

This presentation will include an overview of the information presented at both conferences, and also provide an update to include fall Universal Social and Emotional Learning.

Jade Howson from LBHS wins gold in China


Last month, when Stu News reported that Laguna Beach’s Jade Howson qualified as the top Jr 18 and Under for the USA to compete in the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, it was a cause for celebration. Now she and her family have even more to celebrate. Jade (along with her mother Kris) has just returned from the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships as a World Champion with a gold medal. 

It’s been a long haul for Jade, a 16-year-old junior at Laguna Beach High School, who has been paddleboarding since she was eight. 

As reported in SUP Magazine, “Jade Howson took a convincing win in the junior Technical races (this was the first time the ISA ran a junior division, a great addition to the event).” 

Jade Howson flag

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Jade proudly carries flag after her championship win

“After a week of action in Wanning, China for the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, the 196 best paddlers in the world from 27 nations are headed back to their home countries. 

“The yearly team event, which features a SUP surfing competition and both SUP and paddleboard races in Sprint, Technical, Distance and Relay divisions, is unlike any other paddling competition in the world and features a veritable who-who of the world’s top talent.” 

Kris says, “Traveling to the other side of the Globe was a big trip. I didn’t know how all the changes and pressures would affect Jade. Seeing her dominate and win the gold medal in the first ever Jr Technical was very emotional. I know how hard Jade has worked over the past seven years and it clearly paid off. I was overwhelmed with joy and tears!”  

Jade Howson podium

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Jade wins gold

Robert, Jade’s dad, says, “I have always been a nervous dad. I want so much for my daughter to succeed as she has trained so hard to achieve her goals. Watching her in China, I was filled with such immeasurable pride! However, racing is never over until it is over. So much can happen even with a solid lead. You can have a physical problem, a mental error, or a mechanical failure of the board or paddle. Occasionally a lucky set wave can benefit the paddler from behind. All these things have happened to every seasoned racer. I was nervous for all those things. 

“Now it was Jade’s time on the biggest stage for pride and country! Gold! She won! I jumped up and down and yelled and screamed with my daughter Moorea. It could not get better than that for me! Jade was so far away. I wanted to hug her and Kris. I would have to wait. Days later came the Bronze in the sprints! Team USA killed it! The experience, win or lose, was a dream come true. How amazing it is for us to have a World Champion living under our roof!”  

Before the trip to China, Jade already had gathered many awards and honors.

Currently, she is ranked the 14th fastest woman in the world in the Paddle League Women’s World Rankings.

Now, Jade is the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships World Champion in the 18 and under Jr division and has the gold to prove it.


LBHS musicians selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC, will host free local concert Dec 10

Laguna Beach High School’s instrumental music groups have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2019. The local community is invited to come hear these LBHS students perform holiday music at a free Winter Concert on Monday, Dec 10 at 7 p.m. in the LBHS Artists’ Theatre. 


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LBHS Wind Ensemble 

Under the direction of Jeremy Chung, members of the school’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band groups will travel to New York City to get coaching from Carnegie Hall’s professional music staff before their adjudicated concert performance together. 

“The kids had to compete with schools from all over the country for this opportunity,” said Chung. “It’s a big honor to be chosen.” 

LBHS Symphonic

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LBHS Symphonic Band 

Local support has meant a lot to these music students; earlier this year, the Festival Of Arts Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Boosters who directly support these and additional instrumental music groups (jazz, strings, marching band, and drum line) at LBHS and Thurston Middle School. 

LBHS Artists’ Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.

Watch and listen for the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts caroling with Santa on the trolley, Dec 14

On Friday, Dec 14 from 4 - 9 p.m., hundreds of local girl scouts will be on board the trolleys singing holiday carols for the community to enjoy, while they traverse the streets of downtown Laguna.

Watch and Santa

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Local Girl Scouts join Santa on the trolley for a night of Christmas caroling fun

In addition to caroling for the Laguna community, participating girl scouts will also make hundreds of candy cane cards for our military troops stationed abroad during the holidays. Join in with the holiday singing fun or simply stop and listen as they go by singing delightful songs.

Troup 35 establishes a troop for Girls in Laguna Beach

Troop 35 in Laguna Beach will be expanding to include a troop for girls as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s new family scouting program. The Scout Me In campaign celebrates the BSA’s expansion of its programs to serve families by including girls under a program called Scouts BSA.   

Troop 35 logo

The new troop will be for girls ages 11 to 17. The troop for girls will begin meeting in February 2019 on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Laguna Presbyterian Church. Benefits of Scouts BSA include character development, team building and personal fitness. Girls will be eligible to work on ranks and merit badges to eventually earn the rank of Eagle Scout. 

Contact Tanya Hovanesian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the leadership opportunities of a troop for girls in Laguna Beach.

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announces year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has announced the nonprofit’s year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign, highlighting the impact of the Club and how trained youth development professionals help kids reach their full potential. 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is asking the community to help more kids begin a great future with a tax-deductible year-end gift today as part of its year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign. This special drive offers the general public the opportunity to contribute to the life-changing programs the Club offers to children and teens in Laguna Beach and its surrounding area.

Boys an Girls kids

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Courtesy of B&GCLB Facebook

Students enjoying a fun day in the life of the Boys & Girls Club of LB

“Day in and day out, our Boys & Girls Club staff and mentors deliver quality experiences that make a difference in a youth’s life beyond their time at the Club. Research shows that kids who have an optimal experience at our Club are also more likely to have positive self-esteem, volunteer, and be engaged in school,” said Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

“Our year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign is a special time when we ask the community to contribute to the amazing impact our Club has on the lives of kids and teens,” comments Pam. 

A ballerina, astronaut or an all-star athlete, if a kid can dream it they can become it at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, with the community’s help. Pam adds, “Any donation – big or small – will make a difference! We thank all donors for helping us build a stronger community, and we couldn’t do our work on behalf of the children without their continued support.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach service area includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest and the surrounding communities, and occupies three sites in Laguna Beach: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch and Lang Branch. Together, they offer a nationally recognized and award-winning year-round out-of-school enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. 

From preschool to parenting classes, the Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. Being an indispensable asset to the families of our community is a Boys & Girls Club time-honored tradition. For over 60 years, the Boys & Girls Club strives to support the youth of Laguna Beach through out of school recreation that celebrates the whole child.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach or to make a donation, visit or call (949) 494-2535.

Thurston Middle School WEB leaders build and deliver bikes to shelter in Tustin

On Friday, Nov 30, 60 WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) leaders from Thurston Middle School (TMS) had the unique experience of building bikes together as a leadership team, but it didn’t stop there. 

Principal of Thurston, Jenny Salberg, says, “This bonding experience culminated in our students having the positive opportunity to hand-deliver the bikes to the Village of Hope in Tustin. After dropping off the bikes, our WEB leaders were given a tour of the facility and were able to see firsthand this incredible shelter.”

Thurston bike

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Thurston WEB leaders built bikes together to deliver to the Village of Hope

Located on a decommissioned military base in Tustin, the Village of Hope is a 262-bed transitional housing program for homeless men, women, and children. Opened in March 2008, the Village of Hope is unlike any other homeless shelter in the nation. This development is meticulously manicured, tastefully decorated, and boasts more than 150,000 square feet of structures including two restored barracks, set on five acres.

WEB is a middle school orientation and transition program that welcomes 6th/7th graders and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of their middle school experience. Built on the belief that students can help students succeed, the program trains mentors from 8th grade classes to be WEB Leaders.

Thurston kids

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WEB leadership team with Principal Salberg and Mark Seransie in back row

As positive role models, WEB Leaders are mentors and student leaders who guide the 6th/7th graders to discover what it takes to be successful during the transition to middle school and help facilitate their success.

Principal Salberg says, “We are grateful for PTA’s continued support that allowed us to provide this unique activity today, and we are looking forward to sharing our experiences with all of our TMS students on Wednesday, Dec 12th. We are also so grateful for the two parents who supported this event: Paul Porter, owner of Elev8, and Mark Seransie who connected us with the rescue mission.” 

Paul Porter donated gear to all 70 plus children.

Up and Out: LBHS students getting their pilot licenses

By Katharina Schmidt, LBHS student

In partnership with Brush & Palette newspaper

While some students have their heads in the clouds during class, other students literally soar among the clouds in their free time. LBHS seniors Eden Pfanner and Phoebe Radisay have been working hard to soon obtain their pilot’s licenses. 

“When I found out that teenagers could get their pilot’s license, I immediately wanted to get on it,” said Pfanner. “Ever since I was younger, I’ve been fascinated by aviation. My grandfather was involved with aerospace, which inspired me to get involved too. The idea of getting my pilot’s license has been in my mind since the start of high school, but the Aviation ROP I took my junior year really pushed me to get started with flight training.”

Phoebe Radisay, on the other hand, decided to get her license last May and began her flight training subsequently that July. She is now looking forward to becoming a commercial pilot in the future and is working hard to get there. 

“I was inspired to become a pilot when I took an off-campus aviation class that made me realize being a pilot was a viable and exciting career option,” said Radisay. “My first flight was amazing and further inspired me to get my license. Recently, I had my first solo flight where I flew without my instructor and successfully took off, flew, and landed at John Wayne Airport three times in a row.”

Eden Pfanner is 17 years old and Phoebe Radisay just turned 18. Seventeen is the minimum age to be able to receive a pilot’s license. You have to at least be 16 years old to be able to fly. You must also be able to read, speak and understand English in order to obtain a license. There are different types of certificates, including a private pilot’s license or a sport pilot’s certificate. Which certificate you choose to earn depends on why you want to fly.

Up and Radisay

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Photo by Tony Verderame

Phoebe Radisay trains at Orange Country Flight Center

“I’m working towards my private license, but I plan on skipping my sport license,” said Pfanner.

A sport pilot certificate is for flying smaller planes, mostly two-seater planes. You can only fly short distances and when the weather is good. It is more for fun and as a hobby. With the private pilot license, you are able to fly long distances and fly regardless of bad weather, opening up more opportunities. 

“My connection to planes and aviation is through my own love of flight and through studying to be a pilot,” said Radisay. 

Every pilot flies for a different reason.

“I love being high in the air, and I have a connection with planes because of my interest that started at a young age,” said Pfanner. 

Smaller planes provide a particularly strong connection between the pilot and the aircraft. The smaller planes give several different experiences that larger planes do not.

“I really like sport planes because you really get the feeling of the plane. When you’re in a big jet, it doesn’t really feel like you’re flying. But when you’re in a small plane, you can feel the effect and control,” said Pfanner. 

Eden Pfanner goes to the flight school Sunrise Aviation in Newport Beach at John Wayne Airport. Around five other flight schools are using this airport; among those schools are the Orange County Flight Center where Phoebe Radisay is having her flight training. 

It could take a committed individual roughly 6 to 12 months to get a pilot’s license, but the amount of time one spends on flight training influences the duration of the process of the license. 

“I am on a track to get my license before I graduate high school,” said Radisay.

Up and Pfanner

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Photo by Greg Farnes

Eden Pfanner has been gaining experience at Sunrise Aviation

There are a lot of differences, but also similarities, between a pilot’s license and a driver’s license. 

“They’re pretty similar in that there is a written test and a test where you actually drive the car or fly the plane. But the difference is that you have to be able to pass the written test before you can actually drive, but for planes, you can do them simultaneously. So you can fly while you study for the written test. I think you can get more done in a quicker amount of time for flying than for driving,” said Pfanner. 

Radisay acknowledges the added emphasis on mechanics when learning to fly.

The process for becoming a pilot is very different from getting your driver’s license. Everything you learn is through an instructor or on your own through meticulous studying. One thing people don’t expect going into flying is that you have to frequently study for flights, so you are familiar with what maneuvers you will attempt and how the airplane functions from the engine to the breaks,” said Radisay.

Flight training, in general, enriches one’s life in many ways. Pilots adopt to new ways of speaking and navigating and surely have become more worldly as a result of lifting off the earth with such regularity.

Stu News Laguna is proud to feature LBHS students’ writing in partnership with the high school’s journalism class and the Brush & Palette student newspaper.

LBUSD seeks parent, staff and community input in Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey

The Laguna Beach Unified School District is currently administering of the 2018-19 Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) Survey to gather feedback on the implementation of the district goals and state priorities, in partnership with Hanover Research.

Each school district in California must develop an LCAP that describes the school district’s overall vision for students, annual goals, and specific actions the district will take to achieve the vision and goals. 

LBUSD seeks bushes

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The community’s input in the survey is crucial for the district

The LCAP must focus on eight areas identified as state priorities and must demonstrate how the district’s budget will help achieve the goals. Each year, strategies are assessed to determine how effectively they were able to improve student outcomes. 

“The input and feedback we receive from our community partners through our annual LCAP survey is a crucial part of providing our stakeholders with a voice in district planning to ensure that programs and services meet the unique needs of the community,” said Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Chad Mabery. 

Parent, staff, and community input via the survey accessible here is vital to the development of data-informed goals and the evaluation of outcomes. The survey will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and will remain open until December 7. School site meetings will be held to review survey data specific to each school site once the survey has closed.

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