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LBHS prompts 200 students to join voter rolls

LBHS has more than 200 students joining the ranks of newly registered voters-to-be thanks to the efforts of 12th grade social studies teachers Mark Alvarez and Jonathan Todd in promoting civic engagement.

Each year, PTA provides voter registration packets to high school seniors in their LBHS US Government/Economics classes to educate students about their rights and responsibilities when they turn 18 and encourage them to register or pre-register to vote (students who are 16 or 17 years old may pre-register and then vote when they turn 18). 

The teachers incorporate the information into their lessons and offer extra credit to students who register or pre-register to vote. The process prompts in-class discussions of civic engagement and upcoming elections, and gets the students thinking about the adult world they will enter after graduation. 

LBHS prompts students

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LBHS proudly registered more than 200 students to vote

“It was pretty easy to register,” said high school senior Drake Fay. “The ‘When You Turn 18’ guide has some really interesting and useful things in it.” The guide is published by the California Bar Association.

To help develop good citizens, the teachers incorporate civics education into what they teach students every day. “After studying the Constitution, registering to vote reinforced the principle that our government is truly ‘for the people’ and ‘by the people’,” said Todd. 

“Students are excited to get out there and vote in this next election,” said Alvarez. “We have been learning that at its heart economics is the study of decision making. What better lesson than for students to see firsthand how they can make a difference and that their choices matter.”

Laguna Beach PTA Coffee Talk presents New Families Welcome Tea

On Wednesday, Oct 3, families that are new to LBUSD are invited to attend PTA Coffee Talk’s “New Families Welcome Tea” at The Old House Garden Cafe from 8:30 -10:15 a.m. Longtime residents are welcome to join in to help welcome the new families into the community. 

Laguna Beach PTA Playground

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Longtime residents are invited to welcome new families into the district and our wonderful community

This is a chance for new parents to meet other families that are also new to the district. Parents will get to know more about the schools are our charming town. Light refreshments will be served.

To reserve a free seat to the Coffee Talk, visit

Old House Garden Cafe is located at 320 North Coast Hwy.

LBHS Football continues its winning ways, dominates Estancia 41-6

LBHS Football earned its first road win on Friday, dominating Estancia High School 41-6. The win marks the third straight victory by the Breakers over the Eagles.

“Fun game last night against Estancia!” wrote a fan to Stu News on Saturday. “We had 9 different receivers with receptions, three running backs with carries, special teams looked outstanding and five different players scored TDs. The depth of talent this year is creating a real challenge for the opposing defense to zero in on a single target. The coaches are thrilled with the versatility of this year’s team. Time to prepare to for Marina next week!”

LBHS O line

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The Breakers’ O-line has been crushing the competition this season

Quarterback Andrew “AJ” Johnson was lights out again for the Breakers, throwing for 314 yards on 26-39 passing with 3 TDs – including 112 yards and 1 TD to Sean Nolan – earning him a 149.4 QB rating. (The highest possible QB rating is 158.3.)

Shane Lythgoe rushed for 101 yards, scoring one of the Breakers’ 5 TDs.

LBHS Sean Nolan

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Sean Nolan is breaking all-time records this season for LBHS

Milestones on the game included Nolan moving into a tie for #2 on LBHS’ all-time career catches record list with 117, tying Eric Fegraus (1989-91). Nolan is also 4th in career yards for the Breakers, and 2nd in career TD catches.

This week, LBHS Football takes on Marina (2-4) in another away game on Friday, Sept 28, at Westminster High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

LBHS Boys Water Polo finished strong in weekend tournament, will play re-match against rival CdM tomorrow

LBHS Boys Water Polo participated in the South Coast Water Polo Tournament in Newport Beach this past weekend. The Breakers competed in some very high-level matches against powerhouses Newport Harbor and La Jolla’s The Bishop’s School.

LBHS Boys Water ball

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Marshall Eichenauer III scored four goals to beat Huntington Beach on Saturday

Marshall Eichenauer III scored four goals in Saturday’s victory over Huntington Beach, 13-11, which earned the team a strong 9th place finish in the tourney (its best finish since 2010) and its first win over HB since 2008.

James Nolan and Zach Cord each scored three goals for the Breakers (8-6), while Colton Gregory had two goals and three assists. Will Clark had a goal and four assists, while Caden Capobianco made eight saves.

Laguna Beach also beat Corona del Mar 11-10 in overtime in a ninth-place semifinal earlier Saturday. Freshman Logan McCarroll scored the game-winning goal on a penalty shot and led the team with three goals. Gregory and Clark each scored twice, and Capobianco had 10 saves and five steals.

The Breakers return to Surf League play on Wednesday at Newport Harbor in a re-match against Corona del Mar at 7:30 p.m.

PTA to host School Board candidates’ forum

If you are interested in who decides policy for our local public schools, come hear from all five candidates running for three open seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School Board at a public forum on Thursday, Oct 4, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at the Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theatre, 625 Park Ave.

This impartial and nonpartisan candidates’ forum is presented by the Laguna Beach Unified Council of PTAs in cooperation with the League of Women Voters of Orange Coast. The forum will be moderated by Gisela Meier from the League’s Central Orange County Area Chapter. Doors will open at 6 p.m. to begin accepting written questions from the audience.

The format will feature opening and closing remarks from each candidate, with questions asked by the moderator. All candidates have agreed to participate – Dee Namba Perry, James J. Kelly, Carol Normandin, Mark Nelson, and Christine De Bretteville.

PTA is the nation’s oldest and most respected all-volunteer organization advocating on behalf of children, youth, and families. It is nonpartisan, noncommercial, and nonsectarian. The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. 

Editor’s note: candidates are listed in ballot order as determined by the Secretary of State’s randomized alphabet drawing.

LBUSD to consider action on changes to 2019-2020 & 2020-2021 student calendars tonight at 6 p.m.


LBUSD’s Board will be holding an open session meeting for the public tonight, Tuesday, Sept 25, at 6 p.m. in the District Office Board room at 550 Blumont Street.

“The Board will consider action on the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 student instructional calendars,” said LBUSD Assistant Superintendent Leisa Winston. “Updated information regarding the student instructional calendars continues to be available on the district website.”

At issue is the start date of the school year, plus Thanksgiving and winter break schedules, and non-student days. The proposed change in the school year features a start date before Labor Day and a first semester end date before the winter break.

The Calendar Committee’s original recommendation for 2019-2020 included starting on Aug 21, 2019 with 180 school days, a week off at Thanksgiving, three district-wide non-student days, one and a half weeks earlier start date (two-plus weeks in subsequent years), finals ending before winter break, and the school year ending earlier in June.

The key issue is to end the fall semester at winter break, so students and families can enjoy the break with no homework being assigned.

“The number one priority was to have the semester break before the winter break. That emerged as the number one issue that was going to benefit students and their families the most,” Board President Jan Vickers said.

These recommendations were subsequently revised to include Board recommendations.

The revised calendar includes a start date of Aug 26, 2019, Thanksgiving week the same as the current calendar (Monday and Tuesday are school days), first semester ending at winter break, and two non-student days.

“We all on the Board want to do what’s best for the kids. We’re just trying to figure out what that is and sometimes we don’t know, and the parents don’t know themselves. We are all just trying to figure it out,” Board member Dee Perry said. “So I would like to see a calendar that’s more of a compromise.”

LBUSD front

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The Board will consider action on the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 student instructional calendars at tonight’s LBUSD Board meeting

For the calendar year 2020-2021, the committee presented two revised versions based on Board recommendations, A and B: 

Version A – The school start date would be Aug 24, 2020. Thanksgiving week remains the same (Monday and Tuesday are school days), first semester ends on Friday, Dec 18, there are two non-student days, and the end of school year is on June 10. 

Version B – The school start date would be Aug 26, 2020. Thanksgiving week remains the same, the end of the first semester is on Tuesday, Dec 22, there are two non-student days (January 4, March 12), and the end of the school year is on June 10. 

Board President Jan Vickers listed many benefits that will be brought about by the change in calendar, which included:

--Reorganizing semesters so that the first semester ends at winter break (with 80 days backward from winter break) will positively affect 1,800 students at Thurston and LBHS. Students will finish the semester, they will have two weeks off, and the Board will make sure there is a policy that no homework is given during that time. Students will have a mental health break.

--Students will end the school year earlier, which will allow them to access many

opportunities in June, including college orientations, which tend to be the month of June. Students will have more instructional days prior to high stakes testing and fewer classes after testing and less filler instruction.

According to LBUSD Board communications, the Board has allowed this process to be long and involved to allow more discussion and to gather more input from the community. Changes have been made to the proposed calendars based on parent and community input. 

LBUSD football field

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The gorgeous views overlooking LBHS and the City are peaceful in contrast to the heated emotions regarding proposed school calendar changes

As explained on the LBUSD website, at the direction of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education, district administration, staff, and stakeholders began the process of evaluating the current instructional year calendar to assess opportunities for improvement. 

On April 12, a Board Study Session was held to present a recommendation to restructure the student instructional year in 2019-20 and gather initial public input. 

At the conclusion of the study session, the school board provided administration with direction to provide a FAQ and comments from the study session, survey all parents and staff in addition to students in grades 8-12, have additional discussion with elected school site council representatives, and obtain additional data from the City of Laguna Beach and local art festivals. 

The survey was conducted by Hanover Research in May and received 2,105 responses. The Board reviewed the survey data at a special Board meeting on June 19 and directed staff to develop revisions to the committee’s recommendation for information only at the July 17 regular Board meeting. The Board reviewed and discussed revisions to the Committee’s proposed calendars at the meetings on July 17 and August 21. The Board directed staff to bring calendars for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years to the Board for action at the Sept 25 Board meeting.

Tonight’s Board meeting is open to the public. It will all be broadcast live at

Laguna Beach Cross Country Team proves they belong among the elite programs in the nation

By Scott Wittkop

As the sun set behind the hills of Norco on September 18, the Laguna Beach Cross Country team arrived at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex for their second meet of the 2018 season, the Woodbridge Invitational. The 38th Annual Woodbridge Sketchers Cross Country Classic is the largest cross country meet in the nation, with over 350 schools across 15 states. 

The pinnacle of the two-day invitational was the Dough Speck Sweepstakes Race, which had 9 returning state champions and four national qualifiers, making this year the most competitive race in the meet’s 38-year history. Among the nation’s best teams was Laguna Beach High School. 

First up were the boys. At the start of the race, the leaders went out in a blistering 4:32 mile. Seniors Sebastian Fisher and Ryan Smithers ran side by side the entire race, averaging just under 5:53 per mile, throughout the 3-mile course. Both Fisher and Smithers finished in the top 35 and ran well under the modern school record, clocking a 14:38 and 14:40 respectively. Following closely behind was Senior Zack Falkowski (15:08), Sophomore Mateo Bianchi (15:20), and Senior Cal Neilson (15:21), all posting times that would leave their mark on Laguna Beach High School’s all-time top ten 3-mile list. 

Laguna Beach Cross group

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Boys Cross Country Team in record books as fastest team in LBHS history

In his second cross country race ever, sophomore Will Compton closed out the Breakers’ top six by running a phenomenal time of 15:51, solidifying his spot on the CIF Southern Section’s number one ranked team, LBHS. 

As a team, Laguna Beach ran a team time of 1:15:07, establishing themselves as the fastest team in LBHS history. The Breakers were the top Orange County team, as well as fastest small school (Division 4/5) team in the 38 years of the meet’s existence. Coaches Scott Wittkop and Tommy Newton-Neal were very pleased with how the team stayed relaxed and competed in the electric environment of the Sweepstakes race. 

Coming off of a meet victory up in San Francisco, the LBHS girls cross country team was also invited into the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge. They also clocked the fastest team time in the school’s history with a time of 1:31:21. Senior Hannah Konkel broke the school record in the 3-mile running a time of 17:31. 

Both cross country teams are currently ranked in the top 5 of CIF Southern Section and will run their next race in Central Park at the Sunset League Prelims meet on Sept 25. 

LBHS Boys Water Polo falls to Newport Harbor, looks to rebound this weekend

By Will Clark, LBHS Boys Water Polo Captain

On Monday, September 17, the Laguna Beach High School Boys Varsity Water Polo team fell to CIF-SS second ranked Newport Harbor by a score of 11-7. 

After goals from junior James Nolan and senior Will Clark, the Breakers led at the end of the first quarter by a score of 2-1. After an unlucky tip shot, the Breakers went down 4-2 at half. The Sailors took control in the third and fourth quarter with dominant center play and a quick counter attack. The Breakers would stay within a few goals thanks to the help of senior Colton Gregory (finished with two goals) and three more tallies from Nolan (finished with a game high four goals). 

The Breakers will look to bounce back this weekend in the highly competitive South Coast Tournament hosted in South Orange County.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts Pack 35’s kick-off meeting will feature a reptile show on Sept 25

Interested in learning more about Cub Scouts? Then check out Laguna Beach Pack 35’s kick-off event on Tuesday, Sept 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave, inside Tankersley Hall. Children and their parents will have a chance to learn about all the fun things Laguna Beach Cub Scouts do including camping, swimming, making s’mores and so much more.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts fire

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts enjoy a delightful visit to the Laguna Beach Fire Station

Cub Scout Pack 35 is chartered by the Laguna Presbyterian Church and is part of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. A highly active and progressive group, Pack 35 draws members from both Laguna Beach and surrounding cities. Its leaders have a combined experience of nearly 50 years as Scouting volunteers and have been trained and recognized for volunteer service at Scouting’s highest levels.

What do Cub Scouts in Pack 35 do? Just about everything from A to Z – that is archery to zip line! And in between the group does BB gun shooting, biking, boating and sailing, climbing, exploring nature, fishing, map and compass, photography, tomahawk throwing, sports, and video games, just to name a few. 

Tuesday’s meeting will also feature an incredible reptile show performed by the Lizard Wizard and friends. The Lizard Wizard offers children of all ages and abilities a hands-on journey into the fascinating world of reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. It’s a great event you won’t want to miss, so be sure to stop by.

LBHS Football upsets #3 ranked Bellflower, 17-14

LBHS Football notched another historic win on Friday, defeating number 3 ranked Bellflower High School in a thriller at Guyer Field, 17-14. The game was highlighted by two touchdowns by Junior Raul Villalobos, and a critical 39-yard field goal by Senior Noah Handel.

LBHS Football Raul

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Junior Raul Villalobos scored 2 TDs for the Breakers on Friday night against Bellflower

“I’m so proud of Raul. He really stepped up for our team tonight,” said Receiver’s Coach Nate Ball after the game.

LBHS Football Noah

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Noah Handel winds up to kick a critical 39-yard field goal in the 3rd quarter

According to a report, Laguna was ranked 37th out of 46 teams in the Division to start the season, and was predicted to go 1-9. Beating number 3 ranked Bellflower along with the team’s strength of schedule will most likely jump the Breakers up to one of the top spots.

This week, LBHS Football takes on Estancia in the team’s first away game of the season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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