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SchoolPower hits off another dodgeball tournament for LBUSD

By Pierce Freebairn, LBHS student

In partnership with Brush & Palette newspaper

On October 17, SchoolPower hosted its 9th Annual Dodgeball Tournament. Every school year, SchoolPower starts off the first semester with the fundraising event. Families, students, coaches, teachers and volunteers alike came together to support the 420 players and 55 teams dodge and throw their way to victory. 

“It’s always a good time. It’s fun to get out of my typical role and put on my competitive spirit,” said Activities Director and social science teacher Jennifer Lundblad.Also, I like to support SchoolPower in all they do for our school and the students.”

The tournament was split into three different divisions: The first included 15 teams of 4th and 5th graders, the second had 28 teams of 6th through 8th graders, and the third division had 12 teams of adults and high schoolers. There was a winner in each division. 

The winning teams from each division were “The Kooks” from the first, “Lil’ Slunks” from the second, and “PrescribeWellness” from the third division.

Dodgeball entails skill, teamwork and, of course, fun. Many teams and players have participated in this event over the years. 

Schoolpower hits Wellness

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Photo by Elaine Brashier

The winning and defending champion team of the High School/Adult Division, PrescribeWellness, receives their trophy

“I played when I was little on the team ‘Animal Kingdom,’ and we won! I wanted to play again and have the same experience,” said ASB student and senior Kolton Freeman. “I also wanted to revamp a horrible teacher team and carry them on my back into the final round.”

A team can also win an award for its costumes. It’s tradition for the dodgeball teams to dress up, vying for the “best costume” award. The winning teams for best costumes were the “Space Unicorns” from the first, the “Holi-dodgers” from the second, and “Rhythm Ride or Die” from the third division. Winning teams receive $500 to give to the teacher or school program of their choice. 

Schoolpower hits unicorns

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska

The Space Unicorns pose with coach-parent Eric Siedenburg for a group picture for winning the best costume award

Not only does the SchoolPower Dodgeball Tournament support our school, it also creates a community for our teachers, students, families and local businesses. Some of the dodgeball teams were community representatives or local businesses, like the “Lifeguards,” “PrescribeWellness” and “Rhythm Ride.” Fun events like these unite the community and create lasting memories. Participants will likely never forget the fun they had during the Dodgeball tournament. 

 “Lauren, the campus supervisor, was an absolute beast! She took out the biggest guy on the other team. And of course, Mrs. Gregory. She was the final player left on the court, trying to defend our team, and we watched her get a little feisty,” said Freeman. 

Many teachers at LBHS join the dodgeball tournament as a fun way to support the school and raise awareness for SchoolPower. 

Schoolpower hits Naess

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska

8th grade student Griffin Naess, from the BAYDODG-ers team, throws a ball at the opposition to take out their players 

“The staff team in 2017 didn’t win a single game – not one. We were hopeless, but we had a blast anyway! Jacob Pietig was playing on the Laguna Beach ‘Lifeguards’ team, and he hit me so hard I was seeing stars!” said economics teacher Mark Alvarez. “The worst part is I had to go back in because face shots don’t count. I was the last one left on my team, and four lifeguards were ready to pounce. Suffice to say, that game didn’t end well for the Disco Ballers,” 

But this year’s staff team, the “Safety Ballers,” went undefeated in the regular season thanks to MVP Kolton Freeman.

Thank you SchoolPower for supporting our school district and creating great ways for us to support our community through school spirit.

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.

LBHS Boys Cross Country wins State Title, becomes fastest D4 team in California history

The LBHS Boys Cross Country team followed up last weekend’s record-setting CIF Title with an even more impressive feat – a State Title!

The highly favored Breakers entered the state race with a target on their backs. Preseason favorite Sir Francis Drake was healthy and running their whole team for the first time this season. The teams squared up against each other starting side by side. At the mile marker, Drake led the meet by a few points. It was shortly after the first mile that the Breakers took control and powered to a 68-97 decision. 

LBHS Boys Cross Country

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This year’s LBHS Boys Cross Country team is the fastest D4 team in California history

It was Laguna Beach’s fourth state title spanning across four decades (1989, 2004, 2009, 2018). In a nostalgic ode to their rich history, team members wore white racing hats during the race and retro uniforms to honor the late legendary distance alum, Eric Hulst, from the 1970s. 

Ryan Smithers (2nd Individually) and Logan Brooks (7th Individually) led the Breakers and earned all-state honors. Cal Nielson, Mateo Bianchi, Zach Falkowski, Sebastian Fisher, and Will Compton rounded out the scoring for the Breakers.

“This has been an historic season for the Breakers as they rewrote the school record books and broke four course records throughout the season,” said Coach Scott Wittkop. “They go down as the fastest D4 team in California history!”

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

On November 26, the Laguna Beach Unified School District began administration 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.

LB AYSO girls soccer team finishes season undefeated and qualifies for Tournament of Champions

The Laguna Beach AYSO girls soccer team Red Wave consisting of 12 girls in 5th and 6th grades from Top of the World, El Morro, and Thurston schools finished the fall season undefeated with a 9-0 record. Red Wave is in the GU12 soccer division. 

Red Wave played other teams from South OC, such as Rancho Santa Margarita, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Hills and always left the field with a win. 

LB AYSO red team

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Red Wave after final regular season game – they remain undefeated

The girls on the Red Wave team also had the amazing opportunity to train with Premier League player Richard Chaplow, who played for Southampton and recently retired from OCSC. 

Red Wave fought their way to the top this season to make it to the Tournament of Champions in early December. They are excited to play in the tournament and are pleased that the undefeated GU14 Breakers soccer team from Laguna Beach will be playing in the tournament as well.

LB AYSO with coach

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Some of the team on training day with Richard Chaplow, retired Premier League player

The team roster includes: Anna Sandquist, Ava Guziak, Ava Steris, Capri Henrichsen, Chiara Berman-Yuhas, Fiona Huhn, Freja Harrison, Karina Aleknavicius, Morgan Saunders, Nina Zucca, Payton Taylor and Piper Halpern. 

Congratulations, Red Wave! 

TOW third grade students share important historical figures with family members and staff

Photos courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District

Top of the World third grade students were recently given important historical figures to research and present in a living history museum. Students dressed as Albert Einstein, Malala Yousafzai, Elvis Presley, Vincent van Gogh, and J.K. Rowling. The project culminates with a museum that family members and staff are invited to so that students can share everything they’ve learned.

TOW third Elvis

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Elvis was at TOW for the student history presentation

TOW third Albert

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Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”

TOW third group

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Families and staff had a great time at TOW’s historical museum 

TOW third JK

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J.K. Rowling is best known for her Harry Potter book series

TOW third Malala

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Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

LBHS Boys and Girls Cross Country headed to State Finals this weekend

LBHS Boys and Girls

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Courtesy of Kathy Rose

On November 17, the LBHS Boys and Girls Cross Country teams dominated at the CIF D4 Finals, both advancing to the State Finals to be held in Fresno tomorrow (Saturday). Way to go, Breakers!

Front Row: (L-R) Sierra Read, Angelina Dyrnaes, Molly Cohn, Morgan Falkowski, Kaitlin Ryan, Jessie Rose, Audrey Sutton, Hannah Konkel, Emily Engel, and Sydney Schaefgen.

Back Row: (L-R) Ryan Smithers, Cal Nielson, Timmy Crawford, Will Compton, Mateo Bianchi, Zach Falkowski, Logan Brooks, Daniel Kimball, and Gabe Neff.

LBHS Boys Cross Country is the fastest team in CIF D4 history


Courtesy of Lisa Marie Brooks

LBHS Boys Cross Country was crowned the CIF D4 Champions on Saturday, recording the fastest team time in CIF D4 history. Ryan Smithers was named D4 Champion, and is the fastest cross country runner in LBHS history. Logan Brooks is the fastest junior and Mateo Bianchi the fastest sophomore in LBHS history. The team will head to the California state finals this weekend at Woodwark Park in Fresno.

Laguna Beach High School Surf Team loads donations for fire victims collected by Laguna Surf & Sport

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach group

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LBHS Surf Team with Laguna Surf & Sport Owner Jason Watson in the front center and their coach Scott Finn on the right in green shirt

Laguna Beach bags

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In total, about 1,500 units of clothing were donated, including 300 bags from locals and 10 boxes from Volcom that are also being donated

Laguna Beach line

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Laguna Surf & Sport announced the fundraiser on Sunday afternoon, with the first donations coming in that night

Laguna Beach truck

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The last donations were taken on Wednesday morning to be transported directly to the victims of the fire

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach joins the global #GivingTuesday movement

On Tuesday, Nov27, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach will join #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. 

Boys and Girls Club kids

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Preschoolers at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

#GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the US) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

 “We’ve joined the #GivingTuesday movement because our programming delivery depends on the generous donations of our friends in the community,” says CEO Pam Estes. She adds, “Donations, no matter what the amount, make a difference and are vitally important as these funds will touch the lives of hundreds of children and families we serve each year. We all win when a child has quality after school and summer camp programs. Our impact is not only visible in the young people that show up to the Club every day, but in our alumni, who are advancing their education, energizing their communities, and realizing their dreams.” 

92Y, a cultural center in New York City, conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. Last year, millions of people in 98 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. 

Over $274 million was raised online to benefit a broad range of organizations, and much more was given in volunteer hours, donations of food and clothing, and acts of kindness. 

For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website at, Facebook page at, or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

The #GivingTuesday donation platform is available at and ready for contributions now through November 27.

Latest news from LBUSD Board’s Nov 13 meeting

Ketta Brown retires after serving since 2006 on LBUSD Board

After 12 years on the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, Ketta Brown has retired. Brown joined the board in 2006, after more than 13 years of dedication to Laguna Beach schools including work with Laguna Presbyterian Preschool, Friendship Shelter, TOW Elementary, Thurston Middle School and LBHS.

Latest news from Ketta Brown one

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Ketta Brown has retired from the LBUSD Board after 12 years of service to local schools and the community

Latest news from Ketta Brown two

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Ketta Brown joined the LBUSD Board in 2006 and is now retiring after over a decade of dedication

LBUSD Study Session: School Nutrition Services

The nutrition services supervisor, Debra Appel, led a Board Study Session on school nutrition services in the Laguna Beach Unified School District; click here to learn more. Throughout the last several years, the nutrition services department has been introducing new made-from-scratch recipes that feature more whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. 

Latest news from nutrition services

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LBUSD has been introducing more organic fresh fruits and veggies into its school lunches

Unlimited salad bars with organic fresh fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms are available with every school meal.

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