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Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach schools love LOCA

Arts in Schools, at more than 20 years in operation, is one of LOCA’s longest running and most highly praised programs. Coordinated by Sherry Bullard, it benefits thousands of students annually at all four campuses of the Laguna Beach Unified School District. Projects are designed to compliment and enhance core curriculums. 

LOCA teachers are scheduled in individual classrooms throughout school years. In 2019, printmaking workshops were held at El Morro and TOW. Students learned each step of the process, including drawing their design on practice paper, tracing it onto a foam plate to create an indentation in the foam, and watching it be inked and rolled through the press. Students took home their original print. First graders created flower drawings, and third graders created drawings of fish. 

Laguna Beach students

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Students participating in LOCA’s printmaking workshop 

Also at TOW, second graders learned to draw trees, and create a textural effect using layered papers. Fourth graders created watercolors of sea stars, and fifth graders chose favorite flowers and sketched renderings using watercolor pencils and paints. Fifth grade teacher Mrs. Teryl Campbell was amazed at the quality of the renderings and said they’re among the best she has ever seen.

In June, third graders visited the Hortense Miller Gardens in North Laguna. Docents and LOCA teachers led students at three educational stations.

1. Reduce, reuse, recycle – showing how these practices are used at the gardens.

2. Bees, native plants, and animals – showing how placement and selection of botanical species encourage interaction with wildlife.

3. Plein air sketching – using watercolor pencils, each student drew a subject of interest to them.

Laguna Beach fish

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Students learned printmaking through LOCA

At Thurston, printmaking expert Hedy Buzan treated students to a workshop, introducing them to the use of special papers and plastic scrapers used in the printmaking process. Students created multiples, and selected a favorite to sign and number.

At LBHS, Jesse Bartels taught students to sculpt and glaze ceramic reliefs of cactus and succulents. The works were kiln fired, and will become part of a future mural installation.

Arts in Schools is supported by grants to LOCA from the Festival of Arts Foundation. 

For more information on LOCA, visit

Tonight’s School Board meeting will recognize the City as outstanding business partner

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, June 25) regular LBUD Board of Education meeting has been posted online here. Open session will begin at 6 p.m. at the District office, at 550 Blumont St, with closed session occurring beforehand at 5 p.m.

The Board will recognize the City of Laguna Beach as an outstanding business partner, SchoolPower Endowment, and a special recognition of Kathleen Fay for her long-serving involvement with PTA and advocacy. 

Tonight's School check

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Chris Clark and Sarah Durand of SchoolPower presented 16 teacher grants totaling $111,450 this year

The Board will conduct a public hearing and consider action on tentative agreements with employee associations and management contracts for the subsequent school year. The Board will also consider action on the District budget and LCAP for 2019-20.

Seniors say goodbye to LBHS and Laguna Beach…for now

By Yuika Yoshida, Student at LBHS

In partnership with Brush and Palette newspaper

As the year came to a close, graduation approached fast for the seniors. Over the past four years, the class of 2019 had been preparing to embark on their new journeys and finally start their futures. Along with looking forward to the beginning of a new chapter, the graduates also faced the bittersweet task of saying many goodbyes. The annual Candle Rose Ceremony held on Friday, June 14 united the graduating class under the roof of the Artists Theatre one last time.

“I love our class! We’ve developed a really strong bond over the years, and I know everyone is going off to do amazing things. I’m going to miss the chance to see my classmates every day at school,” said senior ASB president Cal Nielson.

Seniors say Cal

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Cal Nielson, senior ASB president and 2019 Patriots Day Parade Youth of the Year, at graduation last night

There were many traditions the seniors took part in towards the end of the year to make their last year memorable. The most timeless ones included the senior trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, as well as the customary throwing of papers on the last day of school. An especially emotional tradition among these, however, was the Candle Rose ceremony. Candle Rose has been a part of LBHS for over 20 years. 

“Candle Rose is always a special night. A lot of kids come out of the woodwork and do some amazing performances. It’s a great chance for the seniors to share a fun, meaningful night together before graduation,” said Nielson.

Seniors say group

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Seniors say goodbye to LBHS and Laguna Beach…for now 

The concert derives its unique name from the yearly tradition where the current ASB president hands a candle to the incoming ASB president, and in return, the new ASB president hands the outgoing president a rose. The symbolic exchange embodies the idea that the graduating class is passing the torch and imparting their wisdom to the rising seniors.

“Receiving the candle from Cal is such an honor because he’s probably one of my biggest mentors. Not only as ASB president, but as a friend. Being able to walk in his footsteps and become ASB president behind him is super exciting. Next year’s going to be amazing. I’m so excited for all the amazing opportunities we’re going to have and all the things we’re going to do. It’s a really special moment, and it means a lot to me. So thank you, Cal,” said incoming ASB president junior Luke Gold-Sine.

Seniors say candle rose

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Candle Rose Ceremony, a tradition for over 20 years 

This year’s Candle Rose featured a variety of performances at the free event, ranging from reciting poetry, singing, dancing, and anything else that was meaningful to the senior class. On this night seniors had the rare opportunity to showcase their talents.

“I think it’s a great way for the seniors to come together for one last show at the Artists Theatre. I’ve personally participated in about 10 shows ranging from the Shap Show to the Brush and Palette Benefit Concert, and I was excited to do this last one,” said senior Addie Briggs.

The event was open to all grades to bid a final farewell to the graduating class of 2019.

“Appreciate high school for what it is. It’s easy to tune out or have one foot out the door the whole year, but this really is a great time of your life – enjoy it!” said Nielson.

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

LBHS Surf takes 3rd Place at NSSA National Championships with finalists Coscino & Nelsen 

For the third year in a row, the Laguna Beach High School Surf Team had a very successful weekend surfing in the NSSA National Championships at Salt Creek. Laguna’s tremendous showing took them all the way to third overall out of the 17 competing teams. Only San Clemente and Huntington Beach finished ahead of the Breakers.

Coaches Scott Finn and Alisa Cairns reported, “The surf and weather was a mixed bag. The surf was difficult and bumpy at times, but the competitors surfed really well, scoring several excellent rides along the way. The sun came out, and it was pretty hot on Saturday, but Sunday it stayed chilly and overcast all day.”

LBHS Surf Kayla

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Kayla Coscino, fourth place finish

The big result was an entire team effort. Kayla Coscino, with a fourth place finish, and Kiko Nelsen, with a fifth place finish, led the pack in each of their shortboard divisions. “They both had some outstanding performances along the way, but got a bit skunked early in their finals,” said the coaches. 

LBHS Surf Kiko

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Kiko Nelsen, fifth place finish 

They had to dig really deep in the last several minutes to secure their results. It was just enough to edge out Dana Hills. Kiko also did double duty helping out in the Longboard Division.

LBHS Surf winners

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(L-R) Kayla Coscino, Coach Scott Finn, Kiko Nelsen

Tess Booth had an outstanding first round heat in the Women’s Division and the rest of the Men Shortboarders did well, making several rounds, which helped LBHS to their impressive finish. 

Sam Nelsen made it all the way to the semifinals, while Travis Booth and Liam McCue had some outstanding performances, but were unlucky getting interference calls against them in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Kyle Shaw and Jett North put in great efforts (and surfing). 

LBHS Surf trio

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(L-R) Coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn with Liam McCue 

        Coaches Finn and Coach Cairns say, “Thank you to all the parents…who supported us including all the Dads spending time down there on Father’s Day! Great job Team.”

LBHS junior Nick Reardon enlists Pastor Don Sciortino to educate students on homeless issue


There is a serious side to Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) junior Nick Reardon. Those who witnessed his comedic talents in plays like Spamalot at No Square Theatre, and Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat at LBHS, might find that difficult to believe. However, in an attempt to address the effects and potential solutions regarding the homeless issue in our town, Reardon has taken a determined approach to this highly discussed subject.

Spearheaded by Reardon and a group of students – Kidd Stablein, James Ryan Davison, Marc Eftimie, and Sophia Seidensticker – together, they organized a forum with the objective of creating a better understanding of the local homeless situation and how students can help. 

Pastor Sciortino meets with students

Last week, Reardon brought in Pastor Don Sciortino of Net-Works Laguna Beach to speak to a group of 20-30 students on this subject. Net-Works Laguna is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization helping the community of Laguna Beach. Pastor Sciortino then facilitated a conversation on how, working together, they can make a difference. 

Pastor Sciortino says, “Nicholas has a heart for the homeless and will be catalytic to mobilize students to serve the homeless in LB. I told them to create some events and I would help them. Some already said they would be helping us on our Helping Hands From the Homeless projects and LB Street Art jewelry making as well as our weekly Sunday morning community breakfast where 60-80 homeless come every week.”

LBHS junior group

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(L-R) Kidd Stablein, James Ryan Davison, Don Sciortino, Marc Eftimie, Heather Hanson, Nicholas Reardon, and Sophia Seidensticker

Reardon says, “I wanted to break down the barriers between students and the homeless. My dad is a psychiatrist and worked with homeless rehabilitation in Los Angeles. It was very inspiring.” 

The motivation for disseminating information and prompting discussion about the homeless started with a school assignment. This assembly was the end result of a project – a service goal concerning poverty – given by Reardon’s history teacher Heather Hanson. He decided to find a way to address the effects of homelessness and possible solutions on a local level. But why this particular subject?

“I wanted to engage with other people and their stories. I knew of Pastor Sciortino’s work and his primary goal of alleviating the effects of homelessness. This was an opportunity to get an education on the people living among us and become personally involved,” says Reardon.

Long-lasting benefits 

Pastor Sciortino says, “I see this as a beginning of volunteerism helping the students do what’s in their hearts to serve. They are sophomores and juniors at LBHS and will be around for a bit for us to mobilize the youth to do something good, to get to know and help some of the homeless of our city. I love working with the young people and helping them to get a heart for the poor and needy, learning how to serve them and make friends with them.”

This assembly wasn’t a singular event. Reardon has plans to broaden the outreach. “I would like to expand it to other classes and student-led projects that will take initiative with Don. He is making a difference, and I’ve been inspired by him. I’m looking for additional involvement this summer with Don’s work, maybe even a job working for his nonprofit. I’m excited to continue to work with him in the future. And I want to give a big shout-out to my group – Marcus, Kidd, James, and Sophie – and my teacher, Heather Hanson.”

The following was outlined in Pastor Sciortino’s handout to LBHS students: 

About helping the homeless

People are people

--every person has value and deserves help

--easy to judge or conclude an opinion of the homeless

--many kinds of homeless

--some want to be homeless (to be free from ___)

--some are under the influence of addictions or mental illness

--some want to have a “re-start” – to get a new start 

Pathways to being homeless

--not just one way, many ways

--search for freedom

--loss of job and housing

--sickness and all the medical expenses

--divorce and family problems


--mental illness

--all of the above

“People help the people” – Caring for the homeless

--“not from afar, but through relationship”

--the homeless are our neighbors whether we like it or not

--the combination of government agencies and caring people works well

--not everyone wants help, but everyone deserves respect and friendship

--inviting people into “communities that care” is essential

--“people don’t make major changes outside of community” (people that care)

Helping the poor and needy helps us 

--our response to what we have been given is to be grateful and share it

--we have a responsibility to help others that are needing and wanting help

--we can be love and bring love or not 

--helping the homeless helps us understand what love is

--“life is a classroom to teach us what real love is all about”

--to challenge us to love others who are different than us

--“to love is to serve and to serve is to love”

Let’s do something together

--let’s begin to help the homeless of Laguna Beach together

--volunteering opportunities are available

--I will help you do what’s in your heart to help the homeless

Pastor Sciortino says, “This is a good beginning of influencing our youth to see the homeless as neighbors, people who need a friend and the appropriate help we can give. I’m excited for this opportunity to work with our youth in our city. What they do now will stay with them and grow into a beautiful offering of love that will help many and bring great fulfillment to their own lives.”

After listening to Reardon, there’s no doubt this education will provide long-lasting benefits for our homeless and the community as well. 

For more information on Net-Works LB and their many programs and services, go to (the work program).

Meet the athletes at Laguna Beach High School on Saturday brought fun and fans

Photos by Scott Brashier

Meet the food

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Above all, athletes need to eat, coaches serve up grub

Meet the lacrosse

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Lacrosse players 

Meet the Ashton

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Officer Cornelius Ashton, School Resource Officer, demonstrates gear to youngsters

Meet the cheerleaders

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LBHS cheerleaders show their athletic ability

Meet the musicians

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Musicians accompany the festivities

Village Laguna awards LBHS senior Charles Dickerson scholarship

Annually, since 1978, Village Laguna has awarded a scholarship to a Laguna Beach High School graduating senior who demonstrates leadership and involvement in activities protecting the environment and promoting humanitarian goals.

Village Laguna is proud to award this year’s scholarship to Charles Dickerson. Charles is an avid photographer, as well as a member of the cross country and track teams at the high school, two of his favorite hobbies.

Village Laguna grad

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Courtesy of LBHSSF

Congrats to LBHS senior Charles Dickerson for being awarded the 2019 Village Laguna scholarship, seen here with Judy Teverbaugh

During a course in Environmental Studies at Saddleback College, Charles became acutely aware of climate change, water and air pollution. That course inspired him to start an Environmental Awareness Club at LBHS. One accomplishment of his enthusiasm was to guide his club to Upper Newport Bay, to work on ecological restoration in the saltwater marsh.

Charles’ studies at LBHS in Advanced Chemical Research shaped his desire to promote a positive effect on our environment.

Charles plans to major in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Studies at Irvine Valley College. Congratulations to Charles! 

LBHS and TOW Elementary recognized for high achievement and student success

Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) and Top of the World Elementary (TOW) have been named to the 2018-2019 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll for high achievement and student success. 

The program, sponsored by the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE), is part of a national effort to identify higher-performing schools and districts that are improving student outcomes. LBHS and TOW are two of 1,831 schools in California to be recognized. 

The 2018-2019 Honor Roll is developed by the Educational Results Partnership (ERP), a nonprofit organization that applies data science to help improve student outcomes and career readiness. ERP maintains the nation’s largest database on student achievement and utilizes this data to identify higher-performing schools and districts.

LBHS and view

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

TOW Elementary along with LBHS are recognized for high achievement and student success

Schools that receive the ERP Honor Roll distinction have demonstrated consistent high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time, and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. 

“The entire TOW team works collaboratively to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all of our students,” said TOW Elementary School Principal Mike Conlon. “We intervene early to bring our struggling students up to grade-level and differentiate instruction to helps all students reach for the stars,” he concluded. 

“The Honor Roll is the only school recognition program in California based solely on objective achievement data,” said Marilyn Reznick, ERP’s board chair. “Schools don’t even know they’ve earned the honor until we tell them. Our goal is to guide other educators to data-informed best practices for raising student achievement.” 

“Our students come to us with a wide variety of skills and experiences. The LBHS team has worked hard on focusing on relevancy and real-life application of learning for students,” said LBHS Principal Dr. Jason Allemann. He continued, “This focus and drive to support every student, every day lends to an environment that fosters continuous improvement among our young adults regardless of their background.”

In California, the ERP Honor Roll is supported by numerous businesses and organizations, including the Campaign for Business and Education Excellence (CBEE) Macy’s, Enterprise Holding Inc., the Auto Club of Southern California and, Wells Fargo.

A full list of ERP Honor Roll schools and districts can be found at

Perry excluded from school board’s Confidential Matters Subcommittee


Four members of the Laguna Beach School Board on Tuesday shut out Dee Perry from participating in a subcommittee created that night, specifically to deal with confidential matters.

The board voted 4-1 to exclude Perry, based on what the majority said was the advice of attorney Mark Bresee, with member Carol Normandin voting by telephone from Japan. According to Perry, the issue evolved from an email from Bresee to her that he said was confidential and attorney-client privileged – the entire board being the client. Perry was allowed to address the board and members of the public before a vote was taken. 

She pulled no punches.

“This is shameful,” said Perry. “It’s a disgrace.”

Perry flatly denied the attorney’s accusation that the letter from him contained confidential information. 

“By forming this committee, you [board members] are infringing on citizens’ rights to their representation and ‘you’ are prohibiting me from participating and voting on some of the most impactful areas of our job,” said Perry. “This is harming the citizens of Laguna Beach.”

Perry said the creation of the subcommittee is an attempt to silence her.

“Well, it won’t work,” she said. “I am a duly elected official representing my constituents and I will continue to do so.

“What you are trying to do is wrong on so many levels.” 

Bresee advised the board to consider very carefully what they delegate to the subcommittee. Wholesale delegation is not the intent of the subcommittee, he said. It should be a case-by-case decision.

“I am blown away by the behavior of this board,” said Amy Kramer. “It is the majority’s obligation to bring the minority along with you.

"You guys don’t have to go camping together. You don’t have to have to love each other. But you guys do have to get along.”

The atmosphere at the meeting grew increasingly hostile, particularly when members of the audience believed that Normandin was badgering Perry with questions that had already been answered.

Normandin asked if Perry would forward other confidential information, which Perry had explicitly denied doing. 

“This is not appropriate,” said parent Sheri Morgan, seated in the audience.

Vickers responded that the exchange was in order on an agenda item. 

“It’s an interrogation,” retorted Morgan.

In a written statement, Morgan said that formation of a subcommittee that ostracized Perry seemed overreaching and lacking transparency.

“She [Perry] seems to be challenging the administration, asking hard questions, does her own research, and is listening to her constituents and now the board wants to take away a voice of the community, ‘as warranted.’ Is that legal?” 

Jennifer Sorenson said that now that her child had graduated, she could speak freely.

In her opinion, the proposed action was a slap in the face for the 3,968 members of the community that voted for Perry.

Perry has been at odds with the other board members and Superintendent Jason Viloria for months, starting with an untaped meeting in December, at which Perry was not elevated to the presidency of the board, as many believe was recommended in the district bylaws. 

This led to the board majority’s decision to eliminate the bylaw. 

Last month, Perry disagreed with the board majority on the district’s current grade point weighting policy.

Perry stated on Wednesday in an email that she had not decided what steps would be appropriate to take in the wake of Tuesday’s meeting.

“I am considering my options,” she stated. “I hate to spend money and cost the district money legally, but I don’t think what they are doing is right or serves our community well.”

Vickers said the delegation of confidential matters to the new subcommittee would not reflect disagreements with Perry.

Local girl qualifies for track & field events at upcoming California State Games in San Diego

For a second consecutive year, Cadence Peery, 14, of Laguna Beach, returns as a representative of the City of Laguna Beach at the California State Games, being held this July 13-14 in San Diego. 

Her finish times at the Laguna Beach City Track Meet and at the SCMAF Championships this spring have qualified her for the state competition. She will be running in the 100 Meter Dash 13-14 Division. 

Local girl with coach

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City Track Coach Fred Pichay and Cadence Peery

Although Peery is registering without an official team, she has the dedicated support and coaching of City Track Coach Fred Pichay. Together, they will be returning to the games in hopes of breaking her 2018 State Games results of 13.08 seconds.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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