Back to Top

LBUSD Drama presents Seussical the Musical this weekend…and more

LBUSD will present Seussical the Musical this weekend, a musical extravaganza featuring Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat and other favorite Dr. Seuss characters. 

Performances will be held at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, June 8 and 9 in the TMS Black Box. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults, and available at

LBUSD drama cat

Michael Irish, LBHS & TMS Drama guest teacher and most recently fight choreographer for Night of the Living Dead, will return to direct next year’s LBHS fall play, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Michael will lead a Shakespeare workshop on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. in the LBHS Dance Studio. 

LBUSD drama shakespeare

This workshop will be open to all LBHS Drama students as well as this year’s TMS 8 Grade Drama/Chorus students (incoming freshmen). 

Summer drama camp registration is open

Additionally, Summer Drama camps registration is open. The optional camps will meet Monday - Thursday, August 20 - 23 in the Greene Room, LBHS Room 55. Instruction and activities will focus on audition preparation and techniques for drama and musical theatre. Drama students are also encouraged to attend Dance Camp. 

A supervised lunch break will be provided for middle school students attending both camps. Registration fees are $200 per discipline or $400 for both. Registration is currently open at

Some other important events include the LBHS Drama/Theatre II playwriting and directing showcase set to take place on Monday, June 11 and Wednesday, June 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the LBHS Greene Room. The TMS seventh grade drama/chorus reading, the Bully plays, is set to take place on Thursday, June 14 at 3:30 p.m. in the TMS Black Box. 

Also, LBHS drama end of the year event is taking place on Saturday, June 15 at 4 p.m. in the LBHS Senior Quad.

Laguna Beach Unified School District receives No Place for Hate® designation from ADL

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has designated Laguna Beach Unified School District a No Place for Hate® district, recognizing its commitment to creating safe and respectful learning environments for students. 

No Place for Hate is a research-based initiative that follows many of the recommendations for creating a positive school climate laid out by the National School Climate Center. The initiative provides PreK-12 schools with an organizing framework for combating bias, bullying, and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate. 

A district must fulfill several requirements to receive a No Place for Hate designation including a district-wide needs assessment. LBUSD accomplished this by gathering data from all students, staff, parents, and guardians to assess school climate strengths and areas of need. The process included universal screenings that provided detailed insight into the quality and character of the students and school life. 

Laguna Beach TOW

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Top of the World Elementary

Additionally, each school site must form a No Place for Hate committee, sign the No Place for Hate Promise, and complete three or more school-wide activities during the school year that recognize differences and promote respect through active learning. 

“The Laguna Beach Unified School District has made a dedicated commitment to the implementation of a comprehensive social and emotional support (SES) system for all students K-12 because we recognize the paramount role it plays in a positive school climate,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason Viloria. “We strive to support every student, every day, and we appreciate the support and guidance the ADL has provided as we move forward with this mission,” he concluded. 

The ADL will present LBUSD with the No Place for Hate designation at the school board meeting in the fall.

For information on the LBUSD, go to

Special Board of Education Meeting on June 19 will review survey results re: changes to school calendar

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education will hold a special Board meeting on Tuesday, June 19 at 6 p.m. in the LBHS Library to review survey data regarding the 2019-2020 instructional calendar. 

LBUSD partnered with Hanover Research, a private research firm located in Washington D.C., to administer an opinion survey of students, parents, teachers, and staff regarding recommended changes to the District’s academic calendar. 

The calendar survey data review is an information only item. No action will be considered at the board meeting. The Board will provide the district staff with direction on the next steps in the process.

For additional information, including the recommended 2019-2020 calendar, visit

El Morro Elementary School is recognized for high achievement in student success

El Morro Elementary School was named to the 2017-2018 Educational Results Partnership Honor Roll for its 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. El Morro Elementary is one of 1,798 schools in California to be recognized. 

The 2017-2018 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. Schools that receive the ERP Honor Roll distinction have demonstrated consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement levels over time, and a reduction in achievement gaps among student populations. 

El Morro sign

“El Morro Elementary School is honored to be recognized on the Honor Roll for high achieving schools. This validates the hard work and dedication our staff puts in each day to meet the needs of all of our students,” said El Morro Elementary School Principal Chris Duddy. He continued, “It also confirms that the curriculum and teaching strategies we are implementing are working for our students.”

“Educational success must be data-informed,” said Greg Jones, ERP and CBEE board chairman. “These Honor Roll schools and districts are improving student achievement and we have the data to prove it. It’s critical that the business community support and promote educational success as today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce.” 

“At ERP we are committed to closing achievement gaps and removing educational obstacles for historically disadvantaged students,” said James Lanich, PhD, ERP president and CEO. “These bright spot schools and districts are implementing programs and practices that are improving educational equity and accelerating student success. We need to shine a spotlight on their work and encourage others to replicate it.”

In California, the ERP Honor Roll is supported by numerous businesses and organizations, including the Automobile Club of Southern California, Macy’s, Wells Fargo, Chevron Corporation and Enterprise Holdings.

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

Breakfast with the Breakers is a great success

Photos by Scott Brashier

Despite the many events that took place this last weekend, LBHS’s community day, offering Breakfast with the Breakers, proved a great success.

The day included interactive activities, live performances, and much more.

From 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., athletic physicals were available for those wanting to play sports for the school (physicals are required), with fees going to help fund the LBHS Athletic Training room. 

Breakers day physicals

Click on photo for a larger image

Physicals were available for athletes

There were also optional Cardiac Screening tests for anyone interested.

Along with the Pancake Breakfast, booths with sports information and youth experiences for elementary kids were available, offering arts and school club information.

Breakers day crowd

Click on photo for a larger image

The event drew a healthy crowd

More of Scott’s photos from the Breakfast:

LBHS club walks to bring clean water by sponsoring the digging of three wells

Photos by Scott Brashier

The LBHS Walking for Water Club held a “walk for water” event on Sunday, June 3 at the Laguna Beach High School Track from 12 - 3 p.m. Last year’s walk brought in enough donations to fund the digging of two wells, one in Burkino Faso and one in East Africa.

LBHS club group

Click on photo for a larger image

The Walk for Water crew

The goal this year is to fund three wells in total – including one in Nepal, in a partnership with Rosalind Russell’s R Star Foundation.

LBHS club burkino

Click on photo for a larger image

Presenting the facts about water in Burkino Faso

Walking for Water supports the nonprofit Wisdom Spring in the effort to build wells in rural Africa. The walk symbolizes the daily struggle of women and children around the world, as they walk miles each day to access clean water. For more information, visit

The LB Water Polo 14U “A” team is seeded number one in Junior Olympics after win

The LB Water Polo 14U “A” team girls just finished the Southern Pacific Zone Junior Olympics Qualifier in first place.

This gives them the #1 seed for the 14U girls in the Junior Olympics National Championships this July at Stanford.

Congratulations from Stu News and good luck!

LB water polo

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

14 U team wins top seeding: Back row (L-R): Coach Rob Carver, Hannah Carver, Tasha Denny, Lauren Short, Genoa Rossi, Lela McCarroll, Charlotte Riches, and Cleo Washer

Front row (L-R): Myha Pinto, Avery Montiel, Ava Houlahan, and London Boyd

Thurston’s jury is out: John White guilty as charged

Story and photos by MAGGI HENRIKSON

It was a mystery that Thurston Middle School’s Forensic Crime Team investigated since discovering the gruesome “murders” of three people in Dana Point Harbor last March. Er, make that Roanoke Island, and the year was 1585. 

The student-driven scenario was built around a historical fiction scripted by the students. They played out the parts of the murder mystery and subsequent investigation, all supported by advanced, modern era forensic technology. The year-long project came to its conclusion last Friday during the courtroom trial “Roanoke: Murder in the Lost Colony.”

Thurstons jury Martinez

Click on photo for a larger image

Thurston teacher, Michelle Martinez, stands before the defense – Defense Attorney Cassidy Morgan (left) and her lineup of witnesses 

The Forensic Team club was started by social studies teacher, Michelle Martinez, and is open for all 6 - 8th graders. For the past three years, Cox Communications has provided support for the program, through their Innovation in Education grant. Martinez designed the program to teach students how to analyze and apply critical thinking to real-life problem solving.

Who’s the bad guy?

Sir Walter Raleigh had been charged with establishing a colony in the New World, by her majesty Queen Elizabeth I. He provided the colonists with one year’s worth of essential supplies, while he returned to England. After three years he returned to find the entire colony of 115 people had disappeared. In the Crime Team’s scenario, John White was travelling with Sir Walter Raleigh, and he was devastated on his return to find his entire family was gone along with the colonists. He blamed Raleigh for their demise.

Thurstons jury Mustache

Click on photo for a larger image

Prosecution Attorney Keegan Thomas points out just how unfortunate it is that Gilbert looked so much like Raleigh! 

The team “prosecutor” presented evidence that John White had murdered the victim, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Raleigh’s brother, aboard their ship in a case of mistaken identity. They did have eerily similar mustaches! 

Evidence and discovery

Medical Examiner, Gabby Finkelstein, presented the biological report on the three bodies found: Below deck, it was determined that Paul Martin had been suffocated by a pillow – he was purple around the eyes and had small feathers in his mouth and lungs; the dead man found beneath the water was the ship’s night watchman, Victor Smithfield, who had drowned, with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head; Sir Humphrey Gilbert had been stabbed twice in the back and once in the neck. 

Finkelstein concluded, “All were killed differently but in the same time frame.”

There were several witnesses. The Spanish “Captain” Joaquin Andres was ashore and saw some shadows on the deck of the Royal Ark. Captain Andres’ testimony, in Spanish, was niftily translated by Interpreter Austin Plank in the courtroom. 

The French “Captain”, interpreted by Margaux Huot-Marchand, saw a Native American on the deck, maybe Manteo, the Croatan tribal leader, whose tomahawk was found at the scene. Manteo was presented to the court, played by Quinn Butler, and stated that he was a tracker who had come to the ship to report that they’d found no clues as to the disappearance of the colonists – but then he discovered the dead man. “My tomahawk was dropped when I was alarmed,” he said.

Thurstons jury Jury

Click on photo for a larger image

To aid the jury in its decision, part of the modern day evidence was presented via virtual reality headsets showing video of the forensic analysis done by the team 

The jury shall decide

After DNA and ballistics evidence pointed toward John White, the Defense Attorney, played by Cassidy Morgan, had a tough time. She protested, saying there were just too many other fingerprints to prove his guilt. Besides, he is a Quaker, a man of God and doesn’t believe in killing. 

The Prosecution Attorney, played by eighth-grader Keegan Thomas, ultimately brought forth enough damning evidence and posited reasons that the jury sided with – John White killed the two guards quietly because they had witnessed his brutal murder of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Gilbert had been savagely killed, shot and stabbed, to inflict the most pain, in an act of revenge for the loss of his family. 

The jury convened and talked it out before the audience in Thurston’s Black Box theatre. Whodunnit? They concluded John White done it – guilty by reason of insanity. He was sentenced to exile from the colony.

LBHS Spring Music Concert tonight – all are invited

Members of the public are invited to attend a free instrumental music performance by Laguna Beach High School student musicians at 7 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, June 5 in the LBHS Artists’ Theatre, 625 Park Avenue.


Submitted photo

The LBHS Band performed for audiences at Disney’s California Adventures earlier this year

The LBHS Spring Instrumental Music Concert will feature wind and string ensembles directed by Jeremy Chung, the jazz orchestra directed by Steven Wade, a special piece performed by our award-winning Drum Line, and more! Enjoy the music while supporting the arts and youth in our community.

Men’s Volleyball Open proves as popular as ever: Read Friday’s issue for the details and more photos

Photo by Scott Brashier

Mens volleyball crowd

Click on photo for a larger image

Getting the jump on summer at the Men’s Volleyball Open

Page 18 of 29