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Laguna Beach


LBHS Annual Cheer Clinic is back

LBHS Annual Cheer Clinic

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Courtesy of LBHS Cheer

The LBHS Cheer Clinic is back and the team welcomes students from grades K-8 on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Learn cheers, chants and dance with the cheerleaders. Those who attend will perform during the 2nd quarter and halftime at the next Friday night game on October 29, LBHS vs. Godinez. More details and a link to register can be found at www.lbhsathletics.com/cheer. Go Breakers!


Laguna Beach Boys Cross Country team takes home second place

The Laguna Beach Boys Cross Country team traveled to Clovis, Calif. for their final tune-up meet of the year. Racing at the famous Woodward Park, home of the State Championship course, the team excelled against some of the best small schools in the state.

Laguna Beach Boys Varsity

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Laguna Beach Cross Country Varsity team

When the dust settled, the boys were standing on the podium with a second-place finish. Mael Metis led the charge finishing 8th overall with Chris Drews right on his tail, finishing 10th. Alex Boyd (31st), Luke Anderton (35th), Theo Drews (58th) and William Coffey (68th) rounded out an outstanding performance. The varsity team will take the next few weeks of training to prepare for the CIF playoff push starting with League Finals on Saturday, Oct. 30.


LBUSD to host College Round-Up, career speaker

Laguna Beach High School’s (LBUSD’s) College and Career Center will host a College Round-Up and career speaker tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 13. All LBHS students and parents are encouraged to attend the event, where there will be a guest speaker and approximately 99 colleges attending, including private, public, international and community colleges. Fifty-two colleges have already come to LBHS for in-school visits prior to this event. College Round-Up aligns with LBUSD’s LCAP Goal 1, “Develop college and career readiness skills through meaningful collaboration, creativity, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving and stewardship.”

LBUSD to host graduation

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Photo by Scott Brashier

LBHS students celebrate their 2021 graduation

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner in the LBHS Quad, where food trucks will be available for food purchase. At 6 p.m., guest speaker Nicholas Wyman will speak in the quad addressing apprenticeship and skills-based careers. Wyman is an internationally renowned speaker and workforce expert, as well as the author of the award-winning book, Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need. Following the guest speaker, guests are invited to Guyer Field, where the College Round-Up Fair will begin at 7 p.m. Students will be able to speak to a plethora of college representatives, ask questions, and get a feel for which schools they are interested in attending. Some schools that will be in attendance include Arizona State University, Chapman University, CSU Fullerton, FIDM, Golden West College, Iowa State University, Oregon State University, Texas Tech University and UC San Diego.

According to College and Career Specialist Lynn Gregory, “Exploration is key when considering post-secondary institutions. Why you are going to college is fundamental in the selection process when building a college list. It’s more about focusing on your interests and programs that foster those interests than an institution by itself. Knowing ‘why’ allows you to go broader in your search, finding the hidden gem schools that you never thought of before.”

On the day following the College Round-Up and speaker event, all students and their families are encouraged to attend The Professor is In, a professor’s guide to the college admissions essay on Thursday, Oct. 14 in the LBHS Artists Theatre. Dr. Kyle Jensen, professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Arizona State University, will give professional insight and tips to help students prepare for writing their college admissions essays. This event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude at 8 p.m. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.


Middle and High School PTAs’ 13th Annual Sports Swap scheduled for November 6 

The Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School PTAs invite residents to take part in the 13th Annual Sports Swap to be held again at the high school stadium on Saturday, Nov. 6. Doors will open at 8 a.m. on that day.

Middle and high school PTAs juniors

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(L-R Mason Herr, Ashton Azadian and Jacob Castro, LBHS juniors and members of the basketball team

Sports Swap Chair Jimmy Azadian asks those who wish to donate sports gear and equipment to call or text him at 818.645.9177.

“This fun community event and fundraiser supports our students at both Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School. All unsold items will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach,” Azadian said.

Azadian and his team of student volunteers will gladly come to your home or place of business to pick up your donated items, making it as easy as possible on you, while the students earn community service and volunteer credits. Or, if you prefer, you can make arrangements to drop off your donated items. All donated sports items are 100 percent tax deductible. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.


PTA National Reflections contest is calling all artists…

The National PTA is calling all student artists, film producers, writers, dancers, musicians, photographers and more to participate in their 2021-2022 Reflections Contest, themed, “I Will Change the World By...” 

The call for entries is open to all Laguna Beach Unified School District students from pre-K-12. The Reflections Contest allows youth to express themselves and reveals countless opportunities through a variety of media.

Just ask Alexandria (Jordan) Schneider, a LBHS winning producer, who created a video that went on to win at the state level. She developed her video around the theme, “I Matter Because…,” which demonstrated how everyone on her water polo team matters. Creating the video both for them and with them, she said, “They were shy at first but as more kids got involved, they loved it and everyone wanted to be part of it.” They all mattered and she mattered because it brought everyone virtually together during the dark days of the pandemic. You can view her video at https://vimeo.com/537511666.

For those interested in entering, the deadline is Friday, Oct. 22 at 2 p.m. at your school office. Click here for an application and more information. You can download the entry form and instructions here.


Local PTAs present 13th Annual Sports Swap on November 6 to benefit Boys & Girls Club

Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School PTAs invite residents to take part in the 13th Annual Sports Swap to be held once again at the high school stadium on Saturday, Nov. 6. Doors will open at 8 a.m. on that day.

local PTAs Dads

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Sports Swap Dads unloading donated sports gear from the truck

Sports Swap Chair Jimmy Azadian asks those who wish to donate sports gear and equipment to call or text him at 818.645.9177.

“This fun community event and fundraiser supports our students at both Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School. All unsold items will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach,” Azadian said.

Azadian and his team of student volunteers will gladly come to your home or place of business to pick up your donated items, making it as easy as possible on you, while the students earn community service and volunteer credits. Or, if you prefer, you can make arrangements to drop-off your donated items. All donated sports items are 100 percent tax-deductible. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.


Laguna Open Beach Volleyball to hit the sand October 22-24

For the 66th year, the Laguna Open Beach Volleyball Tournament, officially the world’s longest running beach tournament, will be held October 22-24. Men and women professional and open players will battle it out for equal cash prizes at Laguna’s Main Beach. The popular “Battle of the Beaches” four-person city championship will also be held on Sunday pitting Laguna’s Main Beach, Victoria Beach, Three Arch Bay and Emerald Bay against each other for bragging rights (and cheesy little medals). Those finals will be played just before the men’s and women’s open finals on Sunday. A qualifying tournament will be held on Friday, Oct. 22 for teams competing to get into the main draw on Saturday and Sunday. Four teams from both men’s and women’s will qualify on Friday to play in the main draw over the weekend, joining the top ranked teams starting on Saturday.

Laguna Beach Open Frishman

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Photo by ©Jim Wolf Photography

Chase Frishman, AVP Pro and Laguna Open Champion

A partnership of the City of Laguna Beach, the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) and the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) are working together to bring the tournament and top players to Main Beach. Past champions have included many of today’s Olympians and professional players and the event is iconic because so many of the great players in the sport have played here dating back to 1955. The late, great Gene Selznick won the first seven tournaments and went on to coach in the Olympics and much more. He’s also remembered for playing frequently with the great Wilt Chamberlain.

Laguna Beach Open Rosenthal

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Photo by ©Jim Wolf Photography

Sean Rosenthal, two-time Olympian and Laguna Open Champion

Entry is free and kids are welcome, but pets must stay off the beach and on a leash. Play begins at 8 a.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Battle of the Beaches starts play on Sunday at 9 a.m. Seating is on the sand, so a chair or blanket is recommended. In certain seating areas, umbrellas are not allowed to let everyone see. Parking can be found in city lots and parking structures as well as metered parking.

Laguna Beach Open Holtzman

Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Open

(L-R) Bernie Holtzman and Gene Selznick, Laguna Open Champions with Greta Thyssen movie starlet (center). Selznick won the first seven tournaments starting in 1955.

The 2021 sponsors include the AVP, the CBVA, the City of Laguna Beach, The Inn at Laguna Beach, iFinance Mortgage, Wilson, Bud Light, JoLynn, Kamena Outdoor, Plastic Clothing, Slunks, Sand Socks, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Siempre Tequila, Broken Shed Vodka along and many wonderful volunteers.

Sponsorship opportunities include:

–Donations: All donations to the Laguna Open men’s and women’s tournament are 100% tax deductible and go entirely to the players. (Operating expenses are paid by entry fees and T-shirt sales). Donors receive a tax letter invoice and spots courtside in the VIP “fun tents.” Contact the tournament director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 714.381.4000.

–Buy a team. Purchase a seeded team, men’s or women’s, and tie them into your business with press releases and PA announcements. Seeds #1-4 are $300, seeds #5-8 are $100 and seeds #9-12 are $50. The #1-4 seeds include two spots in the courtside VIP tents.

–Donate Swag: If you have products or coupons for player prizes, they’ll list you’re name in their press releases and PA announcements.

Laguna Beach Open Rutledge

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Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Open

(L-R) Lisa Rutledge, Lynne Galli, Kathryn Babcock and Sheila Shaw, Laguna Open champions and finalists

For more information, go to www.lagunaopen.org. For sponsorship opportunities, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you’d like to volunteer to help out during the tournament, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as the Laguna Open is a 100% volunteer-supported event (except for the referees.)

See you on the sand!


Aquathon 2021: An event that never happens and didn’t happen again for the 36th time

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Sunday, Sept. 26, Aquathon 2021, may or may not have happened. 

However, photographer Mary Hurlbut has the photos to prove it did. This is an annual event, and although it’s always canceled, approximately 200 people do it anyway, trekking and swimming Crescent Bay to Aliso Beach – where survivors attend a party held at Lost Pier Café.

Survivors is the perfect description, because this is not an event for the faint of heart – it’s dangerous.

For 36 years, the Aquathon, an eight-mile hike-swim from Emerald Bay to Three Arch Bay, has been scheduled and then canceled.

Aquathon 2021 Gary

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(L-R) Scott McCater, Palle Weber, Ted Lucrezi, Diana Cogorno (photobombing) and Gary Cogorno

Aquathon 2021 was no exception.

The Aquathon website states, “The Aquathon of Laguna Beach 2021 has been canceled because being in salt water is a healthy activity. The City of Laguna Beach has been super to allow this ‘Event’ to continue, we just need to keep our diving masks on.”

As most swimmers are loners, participants must have a buddy for all swims. 

“We want Aquathoners to meet each other,” said Aquathon organizer Cogorno.

Aquathon 2021 high tide

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High tide at Woods Cove – the half-way spot for the long trek/swim from Crescent Bay to Aliso Beach

Armed with goggles, fins, sunscreen and wetsuits, the plan was for everyone to meet at Crescent Bay, travel as far as Three Arch Bay, get on the Laguna Trolley for a ride back to Aliso and join the throngs of water-soaked Aquathoners at the Lost Pier Cafe.

Post event, Cogorno said, “I want to thank the City for allowing us to use this resource and the lifeguards on duty.” 

Donations go to Laguna Beach Ocean Lifeguard Foundation (LBOLF). 

Aquathon 2021 girls

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(L-R) Brighton (Thurston Middle School) and sister Morgan (LBHS) ran and swam the Aquathon for the first time in one hour and 40 minutes 

“Although it is not a race, the power of youth was very evident!” said Cogorno.

According to the Aquathon website, the now famous event unofficially began in 1986.

During that summer, four Emerald Bay residents, Alan Wolf, Mark Disman, John Heatley and Bailey Smith spent their weekends at Emerald Bay beach snorkeling and exploring the surrounding coves. They would generally walk from cove to cove but sometimes had to swim around certain points. They were always struck by the overall beauty of the water, the view from the water of the surrounding hills and the tidepool-filled coves they crossed.

Aquathon 2021 Marriner

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Mike Marriner and daughter (on left) with Ted Reckas and his son

Their short weekend jaunts had only taken them as far north as Irvine Cove and as far south as Crescent Bay. So to end the summer, they decided to explore the entire coast of Laguna Beach starting at Emerald Bay and going south. At that time, Laguna Beach ended at Victoria Beach. Walking where they could and swimming around various points where they could not walk, the foursome arrived at Victoria Beach tired but happy several hours later. Thus, the advent of the now world-famous Aquathon. 

In 1988 when Bob Harman got into the mix, he organized the event and sent out the first flyer. Over the years, the boundaries and routes were changed.

For a full explanation of the Aquathon evolution, go to www.aquathon.com.

For more of Mary Hurlbut’s photos, go to the slideshow below:


Top of the World students are raising funds to aid wildlife affected by the offshore oil spill

Students attending Top of the World (TOW) Elementary School are banning together to raise funds to help wildlife affected by the oil spill off Huntington Beach.

The effort started on Monday, Oct. 4 and continues through Wednesday, Oct. 6. Youngsters, holding up signs, will be at Fire Station #3 at 2900 Alta Laguna Blvd., Laguna Beach from 7:30-8 a.m. collecting donations to benefit wildlife at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center (WWCC) in Huntington Beach and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) in Laguna Beach. 

Top the World kids

Photo by Jennifer Henderson

Top of the World students hold signs, collect donations to help raise funds for wildlife affected by the oil spill

“Our kids love our beautiful beaches, our incredible wildlife and are confused and saddened about the oil spill and want to help,” said Cathey Curtis, parent of TOW fourth grader, Zoe Moore and organizer of the event. “We are asking families and the community to come out and support the kids with whatever they can give.

“Our hope is to motivate other elementary students to organize in their communities. Our further goal is to empower our children with ideas and tools so they know that there’s always something we can do to help when a crisis hits,” said Curtis.

Top of the World passerby

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Photo by Chelsea Kennedy

A passerby donates to the students’ fundraising campaign

“We have also set up a GoFundMe and would love any little bit of support to show these kids and our community that we are rallying around them and our precious oceans and wildlife,” concluded Curtis. To access the Go Fund Me account, go here.

At press time, $400 has been raised toward the $2,000 goal.

The WWCC is dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, some of which are threatened/endangered species; while the PMMC rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education and collaboration. 

Top of the World girl

Photo by Chelsea Kennedy

This student’s sign, with her “talking fish” beckons motorists to stop


Local PTAs announce 13th Annual Sports Swap to be held on Saturday, Nov. 6

It’s that time of year – Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School PTAs invite residents to take part in the 13th Annual Sports Swap to be held once again at the high school stadium on Saturday, Nov. 6. Doors will open at 8 a.m. on that day.

Local PTAs line

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Submitted photo

People wait for the doors to open at a past Sports Swap event

Sports Swap Chair Jimmy Azadian asks those who wish to donate sports gear and equipment to call or text him at 818.645.9177.

“This fun community event and fundraiser supports our students at both Thurston Middle School and Laguna Beach High School. All unsold items will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach,” Azadian said.

Azadian and his team of student volunteers will gladly come to your home or place of business to pick up your donated items, making it as easy as possible on you, while the students earn community service and volunteer credits. Or, if you prefer, you can make arrangements to drop-off your donated items. All donated sports items are 100 percent tax-deductible. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

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Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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