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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.


Annual City Boys and Girls Track Meet will be Friday, April 20 at LBHS

The City of Laguna Beach will host the annual Boys & Girls Track Meet on Friday, April 20 between 5 and 8 p.m. The track meet is open to children under the age of 14 (kids who were born in 2003 or after) and reside in Laguna Beach or attend school within the Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries.

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Children run in heats with others their own age and can participate in sprints (50, 100 or 200 meters) or longer runs (400, 800 or 1600 meters).

Field events include: long jump, softball throw, high jump, and shot put.

The top four winners in each age division will advance to the Orange County Track Meet in May. 

Please register online by Thursday, April 19 at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=track+meet.


Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach brings The First Tee program to all three branches

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announced that it has established a partnership with the The First Tee of Orange County, a golf development program for youth, to bring its “Drive” curriculum at all three branches this summer. 

The First Tee of Orange County is a division of The First Tee, an internationally recognized non-profit that introduces the game of golf and its integrated principles to young people. 

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Kids participating in the First Tee golf program/First Tee of Orange County 

The program focuses on nine core values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment through its 1,200 locations across the United States. 

“We are honored and grateful to The First Tee of Orange County to bring the Drive program to the city of Laguna Beach through their selection and grant process,” CEO Pam Estes stated. “It will develop character, encourage healthy choices and teach life-enhancing principles for the youth of all ages in our community, with lessons they will benefit from for a lifetime.” 

Pam added, “The First Tee and our Club share values that align for a great relationship, including the notion that any kid who wants to try something new such as golf will have the chance to do so.”

Members can participate in an eight-week session as part their action-packed, fun-filled summer camp program at no additional cost to parents. Summer programming begins June 25 and runs through August 25 at Canyon, Bluebird and Lang branches, with all-day 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. rates as low as $150 per week, $40 per day. 

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

Sibling discounts and scholarships are available.


Two LBHS Boys’ Basketball players to represent team’s league in County All-Star Game on April 21

Laguna Beach High School seniors Charlie Rounaghi and Owen McMurray have been selected to represent their team’s league in the Orange Coast Optimist Club’s 53rd Annual North-South 12th Grade All-Star Basketball Game at Cypress Community College on April 21 at 7 p.m. 

LBHS currently belongs to the Orange Coast League, part of the CIF Southern Section. Other members include Saddleback, Godinez, Estancia, Costa Mesa and Calvary Chapel high schools. 

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Photo by Candice Dartez Photography

Charlie Rounaghi

Rounaghi broke the school record for assists and steals during the LBHS team’s winningest season since 1962, a record of 26 wins and 4 losses. He also earned the season’s coach’s award and was co-MVP of the league. McMurray was voted most valuable defensive player by his teammates. Both were selected as first team all-league players. 

At the recent team banquet, Coach Bret Fleming reminisced, “I’ve known Owen and Charlie since they were little third graders taking my summer clinic. They couldn’t get enough basketball. These two guys have each dedicated hundreds of hours to practicing and perfecting their skills. This team is for those who are fully committed to working hard and putting in the time and effort. The all-star selection is a great way for these boys to cap off their high school careers. I’m extremely proud of them.” 

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Photo by Candice Dartez Photography

Owen McMurray

Everyone is invited to watch this elevated level of play. Proceeds from tickets will go to scholarships and youth and collegiate programs. 

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $6 by calling (949) 233-9548 or at the door for $10.


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 its 18th Annual Art of Giving Gala – “And We’re Off!” – on Saturday, May 12 at Montage Laguna Beach. The event will be Kentucky Derby-style themed soiree. 

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. 

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The Boys & Girls Club’s 18th Annual Art of Giving Gala on May 12 will be a night of “racy” fun

Guests will start the evening on the Montage lawn with tasty morsels and signature Southern cocktails. 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 Boys Golf wins twice this week, captures fourth straight Orange Coast League Championship

LBHS Boys Golf played two league matches this week, winning both and capturing the team’s fourth straight Orange Coast League Championship.

“These final two league wins mean that senior players Kyle Sharp, Ben Sharp and Dante Fornaro just completed 4 years as varsity players going undefeated in Orange Coast league play,” said Coach Sean Quigley. “They have never lost a league match throughout their entire high school careers.”

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LBHS Boys Golf captured its fourth straight Orange Coast League Championship, finishing a perfect 8-0 in league play

On Tuesday, the team traveled to Santa Ana to play Saddleback High School at Willowick Golf Course, par 36. The team won the match 208-276.

Senior captain Kyle Sharp was the medalist of the match shooting one over par 37. In addition, seniors Ben Sharp and Dante Fornaro both played well shooting 40. Sophomore Tai Diggins stepped up big too.

“A bright spot looking forward to next year was the play of Tai (Diggins), who came up from the junior varsity team and shot a very solid score of 42. Hayden Myers and Miles Stripling rounded out the scoring with both posting scores of 49,” said Coach Quigley.

On Thursday, the team hosted Costa Mesa High School at Aliso Viejo Country Club, the final league match of the season.

The team went into the match missing a couple of its regular starters. “We were anticipating a competitive match,” said Coach Quigley.

But ultimately the team stepped up. 

“Our players did a good job overall with course management and not taking too many risks with the windy conditions and it ended up paying off. At the finish, we won the match 217-233. The co-medalists of the match were Kyle Sharp from Laguna and Jimmy Solano from Costa Mesa; they both shot one over par 36. The rest of the players scores were Dante Fornaro 41, Gus Morck 42, Kyle Shaw 47, Miles Stripling 51 and Joseph Ravenna 55.”

The team’s overall record is now 10-3, and a perfect 8-0 in league play.

Boys Volleyball nets two wins too, wins 93rd straight league match

On Tuesday, Laguna Beach High School’s Boys Volleyball team defeated Saddleback in three games, 25-18, 25-15, 25-12. Andrew Reavis and Josh McManus led the way with nine kills each. Guy Thomas and Joseph Colliday also had eight kills apiece.

On Thursday, the team hosted Estancia at Dugger Gym, winning in three sets 25-18, 25-11, 25-18. Leading the way was Sam Burgi with eight kills and Geste Bianchi with seven.

The team (9-5 overall, 5-0 league) has now won 93 straight league matches.


Boys & Girls Club announces promotion of long-time member of staff, Hans Laroche, to branch director

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announced yesterday the promotion of Hans Laroche as their new Canyon Branch Director. Hans has worked for the Club for 15 years and has been an invaluable member not only of the Canyon Branch, but the entire organization. 

Prior to joining the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Hans had 17 years of leadership experience overseeing youth development programs and personnel, which included club operations and human resource services. Through the years, Hans has continued the grand tradition of the Boys & Girls basketball programs and offered many more sports, fitness and recreation activities within this department. 

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Hans Laroche

“His professional relationship building with our youth, parents, staff and community is humbling. Hans speaks from his heart and soul; and kids love it when he plays along with them, making them feel loved, wanted and that he hears their voice,” states CEO Pam Estes. She adds, “His number one goal is to make each child shine and grow within our walls; and for those not at our Club, to capture their imagination to see how the Club could be for them.” 

Hans states that one of his proudest moments at the Club is to see former members return and volunteer as a coach and mentor with his programs. “We welcome the community in congratulating Hans on his outstanding performance and wishing him the best of luck in his future position,” Estes says. 

For more information on the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach including after school and summer camp programming, contact guest services at (949) 494-2535 or www.bgclagunabeach.org.

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.


Basketball’s Bret Fleming is named OC Register’s Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season

Photos by Ali Rounaghi

LBHS basketball coach Bret Fleming has been named OC Register’s Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season. The newspaper cites the following reasons for its selection of this most talented coach:

“Laguna Beach boys basketball coach Bret Fleming is highly-regarded among his peers for consistently getting the most out of the Laguna Beach roster. 

“For doing so yet again, Fleming is the Register’s Orange County coach of the year for the 2017-18 season.s

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Bret Fleming in action

The newspaper continued: “The Breakers had one of the best seasons in school history this past season. They won 26 games, going 26-4, one shy of the school single-season record for wins. The Breakers went undefeated in the Orange Coast League to win the league championship.”

While deeply honored at the award, Bret told Stu News, “As far as the award is concerned, nothing we’ve accomplished this year was done in isolation…I’ve got a terrific long-time assistant coach in Rus Soobzokov and this is really just another acknowledgement of what a great season we had.”

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Bret Fleming with team

“This group of young men really understood the concept of playing for something greater than themselves. They dedicated a huge amount of time practicing and preparing for this season, which resulted in winning two major tournaments and finishing third in another. They beat multiple teams that most people would consider upsets... 

“Above all, this group really loved each other and willingly sacrificed their own agendas for the good of the team. I’m extremely proud of all they accomplished this year.”

This was Fleming’s 23rd season coaching Laguna Beach basketball.

Stu News congratulates him, assistant coach Rus Soobzokov, and all the boys on a great season.


Boys Lacrosse is home game against Crean Lutheran this Thursday; three home games next week

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LBHS Boys Lacrosse team

The LBHS Boys Lacrosse team has a home game this Thursday, April 19 against Crean Lutheran at 5 p.m. The team will follow with three home games next week, including Monday, April 23 at 5 p.m. against Beckman; Wednesday, April 25 at 5 p.m. against San Juan Hills; and Thursday, April 26 at 4:30 p.m. against Sage Hill.  

Spectators and supporters are welcome!

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