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Laguna Beach

LBHS Spring Music Concert June 5 – 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. on Tuesday, June 5 in the LBHS Artists’ Theatre, 625 Park Avenue.


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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.

LBHS club’s Walking for Water big fundraising event is on June 3 – and it’ll be fun for the whole family

Walking for Water is a project a world away from the hardscrabble life of its beneficiaries. In Burkina Faso, Kenya, Ghana, and Nepal there are children the same age as their Laguna counterparts who must walk every day – sometimes for hours – just to retrieve the water needed daily for their families. 

The Laguna Beach High School club Walking for Water aims to make water more readily available for these kids through their fundraising efforts on June 3.  

Walking for Water’s annual event is their main fundraiser of the year and the community is invited to help out, while having fun too. From 12 - 3 p.m. there will be fun, games and raffle prizes on the high school track. With the money raised, the club plans to put in four wells – three in Burkina Faso and one in Nepal.

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The plan is to make four wells available for kids like these in Burkina Faso and Nepal who must walk miles for water

The nonprofit club partners with Wisdom Spring, Inc. all year long to work toward bringing clean drinking water to rural areas around the world. In the last ten years, more than 28 wells have been built in sub-Saharan Africa, providing clean water to over 30,000 people. 

The LBHS club has made their own website and everything else it entails to make this event happen. For more information visit,

Come on down on June 3 – rain or shine – and think about how important clean water is to all of us. Have some fun, and do some good! 

LBHS Boys Varsity Tennis heads to the 2018 CIF Championships

LBHS Boys Tennis will head to the 2018 CIF Southern Section Championships today, Friday, May 18. The team beat Laguna Blanca on Monday to advance, and then Wednesday the team traveled to Santa Ynez for an exciting, down-to-the-wire win to put them in the finals.

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Photo by Erik Johnson

Coach Conkey gives the thumbs up as the tennis team advances to the CIF Championships today. The team (L to R):Scott Yoder, Casey Boehm, Diego Tellez, Kyle Herkins, Mo Berri, Mason Lebby, Francis Pillsbury, Nick Besso, Andrew Duong, Matt Duong, Matt Berk, Blake Hawkins, Andrew Johnson

Coach Rick Conkey shared his excitement, “So as you know we won 9-9 (with a tie, they count games and we outscored them 76-75 in games). No joke! We were down and had to win four of six in the last round just to tie. I reminded them of our team’s mantra ‘Pressure is a Privilege.’ I asked them to embrace it and stay aggressive when the pressure increased... and they really did just that...they won the match – the other team didn’t lose it.”

Today, May 18, LBHS will play Redlands Valley at The Claremont Club. Redlands beat Bolsa Grande 12-6 on Wednesday, and they beat LBHS the last time they met in the finals in 2016.   

Coach Conkey said, “Redlands is definitely the best team in the draw. It will be a tough match, but we can do well if we engage and play to our potential.”

Boys Water Polo will be competing in the first round of the CIF playoffs on Thurs at 5 p.m.: cheer them on

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L-R, Marshall Eichenauer, James Nolan, Will Clark, Kai Cameron, Colton Gregory, Zach Cord, Peter Weiland, Larsen McCarroll, Caden Capobianco, Sebi Jacobs, Riley Baumgardner, Marcon Salib, Coach Trevor Lyle

Come out and support LBHS’s boys winning water polo team at home on Thursday Nov 2 at 5 p.m. for the first round of the CIF playoffs…GO BREAKERS!

LBHS Surf Team battles Dana Hills and comes up with a giant win, dominates Aliso Niguel

Written by coaches Scott Finn and Alisa Cairns

The Laguna Beach High School Surf Team battled Dana Hills at Salt Creek last Thursday with classic conditions and surf in the five foot range. The event was a League event and the second meeting for the season. Many of the Laguna surfers found success and were key to the win, but you could say the MVP was Travis Booth with a runner up spot in Short Board and a crucial second in Bodyboard. 

Meanwhile our Girls team did their part with Kayla Coscino another MVP, taking the shortboard win and a second in Longboard, while Kalohe Danbara and Kelly Smith went 2, 3 in shortboard and Claire Kelly took third in Longboard. Laguna was out in front with numerous top results. 

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MVP Kayla Coscino

In Boys Shortboard Trey Lockhart, Sam Nelsen, Jeremy Shutts and Jake Levine all had wins and Kiko Nelsen had the wave of the day to take a very close second. Jett North did well to take a fourth. We have had a tough time in our Longboard and Bodyboard Divisions and the team has all rallied hard to fill the gaps with some of the surfers doing double duty. It came down to the last heat of the day with the Bodyboarders hitting the water. At the first meeting with Dana we had a chance to tie and just came up short and this time it looked like it might happen again. But as it turned out Travis Booth pulled through with a great Bodyboard performance and his second place finish was enough to give the Team an eight-point win 87/79 overall, the first time taking the win in a very long time.

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MVP Travis Booth

Day two, last Friday saw the team dominate Aliso Niguel in a non-league scrimmage. Several of the usual suspects had top performances, while some new younger kids also got in the mix and came in with some great results. 

Sam and Kiko Nelsen took wins as did Jake Levine, while Travis Booth took a couple of seconds in Boys Shortboard and Bodyboard once again. Jeremy Shutts displayed some nice surfing and took a second in shortboard while his brother Andrew took fourth in Bodyboard. Jameson Roller surfed nicely in Longboard to take a second.

Trey Lockhart took another win while his brother a Freshman took second and Jett North took a third. Several new surfers saw action led by Joseph Schenk who had some nice rides to take second in shortboard, while Lucas Jablon and Julian Williams-Goldberg took thirds and Zac Henderson had a fourth in Longboard. Our Girls did awesome once again with Kalohe Danbara taking the win, while Tess Booth was close behind finishing in second in Shortboard and third in Longboard and Kelly Smith took a third in Shortboard.

A big thank you goes out to all the parents and friends who showed up to support our Laguna kids.Our next event will be another League Event at T-Street on Friday, Nov 3 against San Clemente.

NCAA Signing Day at LBHS: Your community is proud of you all

The community gathered on the quad at LBHS Wednesday morning to celebrate the signing of letters of intent by 12 LBHS senior student-athletes, marking the culmination of 10+ years of dedication and hard work by these extraordinary young women and men.

Parents and grandparents were on hand to celebrate – as well as hundreds of LBHS students, who could be heard hootin’ and hollerin’ as their friends’ names and final college choices were announced over the PA system.

Seven girls water polo players signed their letters of intent – including Thea Wash (Stanford), Sophia Lucas (USC), Evan Tingler (Harvard), Alana Evans (Princeton), Isabel Riches (Brown), Kyla Whitelock (Fresno State), and Danielle Borelli (McKendree University). Diver Liv Mitchell signed her letter of intent to Brown, while swimmer Kasey Karkoska signed hers to Columbia. Girls sand volleyball player Lexi McKeown signed to Florida State, boys volleyball player Sam Bergi signed to UCLA, and rowing coxswain Jessica Morrell signed to UCSD.


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Photos by Kristin Karkoska/

Blue Sky Studio

(L to R) Liv Mitchell, Evan Tingler, Isabel Riches, Alana Evans, and Kasey Mitchell were all smiles Wednesday after signing their NCAA letters of intent in front of the community

Water polo standout Thea Walsh, an All-County goalie, will join former LBHS teammates (and USA Gold Medal Olympians) Makenzie and Aria Fischer at Stanford, which ’09 LBHS grad and USA Gold Medal Olympian Annika Dries also attended. When asked about her choice, Walsh said: “It’s literally been my dream school since 8th grade.”


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Thea Walsh, pictured here with her parents, will join former LBHS teammates Makenzie and Aria Fischer at Stanford next year

Sand volleyball star Lexi McKeown said she chose Florida State because of the “bricks and trees.” She wanted something different than Laguna, but still wanted to feel at home. “Every building [at FSU] is brick, and the trees are just so beautiful too. The moment I stepped on campus, I knew it was right for me.”

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A Seminole and a Lion: Lexi McKeown and Kasey Mitchell

The event was one of three NCAA Signing Day events scheduled by LBHS this year, with other signings in other sports to be celebrated later in the school year.

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Sam Burgi, who will play volleyball at UCLA next year, with his mother Lori

Lexi McKeown, volleyball player extraordinaire: A special tribute to one of Stu’s favorite families

Mom Kathy McKeown wrote a very personal note to Stu News, wishing that Stu were still around to witness her daughter Lexi’s success. “Wish Stu were here to get to see her get to this point after you two [Stu and Shaena] so graciously supported her throughout her journey,” Kathy wrote. 

So, with Stu in mind, we thought we’d publish Lexi’s story in full, as written by her proud mom.

“Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’ll land within the stars”…and there’s not a game or practice where this player does not aim high, giving a 100 percent effort of herself and to her teammates. 

Fondly referred to as McCutie, the Empire Spikes Back, the Lexinator and McKillin, Lexi McKeown is a four-year LBHS Varsity veteran starting player and is saying goodbye this season to her six years spent on the indoor court playing in the gold division for T Street, Momentous and Laguna Beach Volleyball clubs.  

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Photo by Kristin Karkoska/
Blue Sky Studio

Lexi and proud mom Kathy

Next fall Lexi is headed to Florida State University on an academic/athletic scholarship where she will have her toes in the sand playing beach volleyball for the Division 1 number 4 nationally ranked Seminoles. Show us your tomahawk Lex! 

One of the top 2018 beach players in the nation, Lexi finished fifth in the BVCA, third in the USA Spring Open, second in the AAU Spring Classic, played first seed for the championship winning Los Angeles ICG Club in the AAU Power Elite league, fifth out of 56 U18 players in the annual Hermosa Beach Queen of the Beach Invitational tournament, first in the Junior Beach Volleyball League Series tournament #1, first in the U18 College Showcase gold division and second in the East Coast National Junior Championships.

When she’s not playing volleyball she’s either watching Netflix or studying..which has obviously been quite a bit over the last four years…she currently has a 4.5 GPA and plans on majoring in Biological Sciences with aspirations to go into the field of medicine, or star on Grey’s Anatomy.

Two time Varsity captain, second team all-league as a sophomore, Orange Coast league academic scholar athlete each year, last year’s MVP of the league and of the Varsity team, 2016 Max Preps Laguna Beach Player of the Year, and the Orange County Register Varsity Athlete of the Week in October, Lexi is a second-generation volleyball scholarship athlete; her mom, Kathy, also an LBHS grad, was awarded a full ride volleyball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame. 

Lex, your family is so very proud of you and we admire the genuine passion, perseverance and integrity you represent. You already sit among the stars, sweet girl, and we look forward to watching you shine brighter and brighter!

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

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Occurring this year on Nov 28, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tues after Thanksgiving (in the US) after the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the holiday giving season. The hope is to 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 served each year. 

“We all win when a child has quality afterschool and summer camp programs. The 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.” 

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(L-R) LBBGC Giving Tuesday Preschoolers Luke Stedman, Maylen Torres, J. Carlos Zaragoza

A cultural center in New York City, conceptualized #GivingTuesday as a new way of linking individuals and causes to strengthen communities and encourage giving. In 2016, the fifth year of #GivingTuesday, millions of people in 98 countries came together to give back and support the causes they believe in. Over $177 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. 

Those who are interested in joining the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s #GivingTuesday initiative can visit For more details about the #GivingTuesday movement, visit the #GivingTuesday website, Facebook page ( or follow @GivingTues and the #GivingTuesday hashtag on social media.

Laguna Beach High School Girls Soccer Coach Bill Rolfing retires after 13 seasons

A farewell note from Coach Bill Rolfing

I’m happily stepping down from directing Laguna Beach High School Girls Soccer Program after 13 rewarding seasons. During my first stint at LBHS, leading the LBHS Boys Soccer Program (1979-1984), I helped start the Girls Soccer Program (1982). While coaching the Boys Varsity, the squad reached 1980 CIF DII semifinals. Team trips to New Zealand, conducting coaching clinics and founding Laguna Beach Soccer Club were highlights.”

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Girls’ Soccer team members surround Coach Rolfing

 Returning to LBHS in 2004, I set a goal of rebuilding the LBHS Girls Soccer Program and bringing championships to the school. That was achieved with all three teams! The 2017 season finished at a peak with undefeated Orange Coast League Titles for Varsity and Junior Varsity at 10-0-0. The Varsity Team completed a record-setting campaign with a 20-4-2 overall record, 10-0-0 in league with 7 shutouts, CIF quarterfinal appearance and a final 2017 CIF D4 ranking of # 2.

The last six years elevated the LBHS Varsity to three Orange Coast League Championships (‘12, ‘14 & ‘17), undefeated desert tournament titles and six consecutive trips to CIF Playoffs. From 2011 to 2017, the Varsity Team set a record of only 7 losses in the 60 OCL matches.

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Coach Bill Rolfing leaves the field… with Assistant Amanda Sylvia

“Thanks to scores of dedicated players who worked hard to take their game to the next level. Congrats to the many who went on to play in college and all the players who continue to call soccer their game. Particularly, it was a dream to coach daughters, Emily ‘05 and Sarah ’07.

Finally, it has been a huge honor to share this successful experience with long-time Varsity Assistants and partners, Amanda Sylvia ANHS ’01 and Courtney Hamchuk, LBHS ‘05. Together we chose good paths, built character, shaped players and built championship girls soccer teams for this small public school by the beach.

Stu News wishes Coach Rolfing all the best for his retirement. Congratulations on a truly remarkable run. You have been a game-changer for the LBHS soccer program - and in the lives of all those young men and women who have played for you.

PTA Coffee Talk draws a SRO crowd for the film SCREENAGERS about Growing up in the Digital Age


It was sitting room only at the packed PTA Coffee Talk screening of “SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” at Thurston’s Black Box Theater on Wednesday night. Concerned Laguna Beach parents and their kids came together to find tips and solutions for the glaring problem of excessive electronics usage, too much screen time, and Internet exposure experienced by today’s youth.

Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston first saw these problems with her own kids, learning that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. In her documentary, “SCREENAGERS,” Ruston delves into the struggles over social media, video games, academics, and Internet addiction. She reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

 “I am a big advocate of having that balance. I think there are a lot of times technology is great. But there’s definitely a time and place for it,” said Coffee Talk Chair Sharael Kolberg. “I know my own daughter, when she was little, we went without technology. And I saw such a dramatic impact on her in such a short amount of time, that I can attest to. It really is very impactful for your kids to cut down, and they are going to put up a fight.”

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

A partial crowd shot of the capacity crowd at the PTA Coffee Talk’s screening of the documentary Screenagers

“What I hope that we take away is just to open the line of communication between parents and kids regarding technology usage, the amount they are on it, and the dangers involved that can happen to anyone,” said Kolberg. “We need to be constantly reminded how important it is to keep the line of communication open with our kids. It’s really the main message.”

Alicia Glass, Coffee Talk event coordinator, has a stepdaughter at Laguna Beach High School and a daughter in second grade at El Morro Elementary School.

“We’ve been really good at communicating with the older girl about the dangers of social media and what not. She has been great and actually doesn’t use social media,” Glass said. “We put her on an old-school flip phone and she’s perfectly fine with that. It has been really great. And I think socially, that’s helped her a lot. She’s not into the drama.”

What’s more concerning to Glass is the even younger generation’s attachment to electronics, as with her child in second grade, who started using electronics in kindergarten.

“My daughter, in kindergarten, they start them on iPads. So, they’re already doing lessons on iPads in kindergarten now at the schools and learning how to use all this technology. It’s fully integrated in their day today,” said Glass. “Now she’s really getting into YouTube and things of that nature. So, I am hoping I can learn some tricks from this movie to kind of implement with her because we are seeing her more and more addicted to electronics.”

Thurston seventh-grade student Bella Piskun, who came with her father Boris to see the movie and potentially learn some new tips, said she knows of some students addicted to their devices.

“Usually people look at Instagram or Snapchat and sometimes it’s addictive. Whenever you turn on your phone, your eyes can’t look away,” Piskun said, referring in particular to Instagram. “My dad wants me to be more responsible with technology, like don’t look at inappropriate stuff, do the right thing.” 


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Photo by Suzie Harrison

Like Boris and Bella Piskun, many parents and their teens came to see “Screenagers,” a film about balancing life with screen time and electronics usage

Clay and Kimberley Leeds and their two sons Logan, 15, and Elliot, 11, were all in. 

“I’m here because I am concerned about the amount of screen time that kids are exposed to throughout the week,” Clay said. “We take the point of view that screens are useful, and if you’re doing homework, that’s fine, that’s good. But electronics and video games, we limited to two hours a day on Friday and two hours a day on Saturday and that’s it for the week.”

Kimberley said, “I’m hoping to affect my children’s understanding of why I limit their screen time at home. Because during the week they’re not allowed at all unless it has something to do with school, which is difficult because almost everything is on electronic devices now, instead of just paper and pencil.”

She reiterated that during the school week, they ban electronic video games, social media, and interacting with people via electronic devices because it’s becoming an addiction. 

“Their social interaction skills are not so fabulous when they are on the screens. I also find that they’re overly emotional when it’s time to turn it off. Or they don’t get along very well, their wick is so short with each other when they have been playing,” said Kimberley. “So I can tell there’s an effect internally, an instantaneous need – I want rewards immediately. I want what I want when I want it.”

To learn more about “SCREENAGERS,” visit

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

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.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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