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SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament returns for the tenth year

SchoolPower’s 10th annual Dodgeball tournament will be held Wednesday, Oct 16 at Laguna Beach High School. The event is wildly popular and intensely competitive, bringing together the entire community in the spirit of silliness and competition. 

Last year’s event raised close to $13,000 for SchoolPower, the nonprofit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. 

SchoolPowers Dodgeball student

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Submitted photo

Students enjoying last year’s tournament 

It’s a blast to be a part of the high energy crowd, which includes over 400 costumed players plus hundreds of parent coaches, volunteer referees, and cheering spectators. Players in the three divisions are made up of students in fourth grade and up from all four local schools, plus parents, teachers, school staff, community members, and local business supporters. 

Competition is fierce, and agility and a strong arm are key – many teams play together year after year. Champions from each division win $500 in prize money to designate to a teacher or school program of their choice. Local radio station KX 93.5 joins the fun, broadcasting play-by-play live coverage of the tournament. 

SchoolPowers Dodgeball group

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Submitted photo

Last year’s division champs strike a pose 

For court sponsorship opportunities and registration information, contact SchoolPower at (949) 494-6811 or visit lbschoolpower.org/dodgeball-tournament/.

SchoolPower’s mission is to enhance and enrich the educational experience of the whole student as they grow from TK through 12th grade. SchoolPower has contributed over $4,000,000 to Laguna Beach schools over the past five years to help support a wide range of programs, including music, visual and performing arts, digital literacy and STEM, athletics, social emotional support, and teacher grants. 

SchoolPower’s Wave of Giving campaign is on now at give.lbschoolpower.org.


LBHS Homecoming 2019

Photos by Scott Brashier

LBHS Homecoming 1

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Meet your 2019 LBHS Homecoming King and Queen Sammer Tarazi and Chloe Hale

LBHS Homecoming 2

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LBHS freshmen perform during halftime to rodeo theme

LBHS Homecoming 3

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Sophomores gear up to perform their “Rodeocoming” number at halftime

LBHS Homecoming 4

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The Breakers lost a tough one to Marina High School (Huntington Beach), 28-14

LBHS Homecoming 5

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Marina’s rushing game accounted for 250 of the team’s 317 total yards, while LBHS passed for 251 of the team’s 315 yards.

LBHS (4-2) looks to bounce back this week against another tough opponent, Rio Hondo Prep (5-0), Friday at 7 p.m. on the road in Arcadia.


Laguna Beach High School Boys Water Polo takes first in Villa Park Tournament

After a tough overtime loss to Corona del Mar last week in the team’s first Sunset League game, the LBHS Boys Water Polo team came back to win first place in the Villa Park Tournament over the weekend.

Laguna Beach WP Team

Submitted photo

Laguna Beach High School Boys Water Polo team

“We have a great group of guys who are super committed and working really hard every day to get better,” Varsity Water Polo Coach Ethan Damato said. “We are in the toughest league and the toughest section in California where we are currently ranked 11th in the CIF Southern section. Last weekend we won the Villa Park Classic going 5-0. Very proud of our guys. We have a very challenging schedule, and they have to get up for big games every week. We are looking forward to these next three weeks heading into CIF playoffs.”

The team takes on San Clemente High School in a non-conference away game on Saturday, Oct 5 at 12 p.m., at Vista Hermosa Sports Park.


Third Annual SeaDog Skim Challenge to benefit PMMC draws 76 amateur and pro athletes

The Laguna Beach skimboard community came together over the weekend for the Third Annual SeaDog Skim Challenge. The event, put on by four-time World Champion skimboarder Sam Stinnett, has raised over $15,000 in its three years. The contest this year drew 76 amateur and professional athletes.

Third Annual Stinnett

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Photo by Vincent Wallstein

World Champion skimboarder and organizer of the event Sam Stinnett

The SeaDog Skim Challenge was back again for two days on Saturday, Sept 28 and Sunday, Sept 29, at Aliso Beach. Funds raised support the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC). 

This not-for-profit skimboarding contest is open to Amateur and Professional skimboarders of all ages and genders. 

Third Annual Prietto

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Photo by Fabiana Badie

Youngest competitor Miles Prietto

Top honors went to Chabe Blanco, 21, and Yahir Valencia, 15 – both of Mexico – who took first place in the female and male professional categories, respectively.

Naz Mir-Scaer won the women’s amateur competition and Megan Vanbuskirk took second.

Third Annual hair

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Photo by Katie Arnold

Wild hair day 

Organizers would like to give special thanks to the following sponsors: Laguna Beach Beer Co., Villa Real Estate – Chris Sirianni, ELEV, Vissla, Sector 9 Skate Boards, Society Amuse, Exile, Peak Hydrate, Let’s Party, Laguna Surf & Sport, The Abbey, Laguna Beach, The Ranch, LB, Catch Surf, and Sun Solid Logistics.

Third Annual youngest boys

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Photo by Fabiana Badie

Youngest competitors in finals – (L-R) Kaleo Prietto, Dia Prietto, Kia Thompson, and Paul Carey

Amateur awards in the male category went to Kai Thompson (age 9 and younger), Jacob Crouse (10 to 14), Michael Reyes (15 to 30), and Jan Vince (30 and older). 

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals, and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education, and collaboration. To learn more, visit www.pacificmmc.org.

For more photos by Fabriana Badie, see slideshow below


1969 LBHS Class Reunion 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

1969 LBHS ladies

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Sally Shattuck and Christine Brennan enjoying festivities at the Woman’s Club last weekend

1969 LBHS football

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Remembering the Artists’ football team

1969 LBHS spence

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Patty Houts (Hussey) and Spence Hurlbut


Laguna Beach High School Surf Team takes a second big win over Aliso Niguel 

For the second week in a row, the Laguna Beach High School Surf Team had a strong showing against Aliso Niguel in a non-league scrimmage to take another win. This time the event was held on Friday at Salt Creek. The Laguna surfers took top honors in nearly every heat of the various divisions. 

Coaches Scott Finn and Alisa Cairns report, “The weather was a little cool and gloomy with drizzle and the waves were a little tricky, but the Laguna surfers were able to do just fine.” 

Laguna Beach Kiko and Lucas

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Photo by Ellen Nelsen

Kiko Nelsen and Lucas Jablon

In Men’s Shortboard both Kiko Nelsen and Sam Nelsen were once again standout performers, impressing all with their solid surfing to win their heats. Also winning his heat was Joseph Schenk who tore apart a good size set wave and managed a number of really good turns on his backside, finishing off nicely close to the sand. 

“Meanwhile Tai Diggens and Luke Hagopian also did great to finish with wins, while Holden Geary and youngsters Bastian Evans and Tate Warner all took seconds with some nice rides of their own. Tate had one of the nicest sets of the day and really looked good,” said Coaches Finn and Cairns, expanding on the many commendable performances.

Laguna Beach Tai

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Photo by Ellen Nelsen

Tai Diggens

 “Our women surfers continued their roll of top finishes with outstanding surfing once again and double wins from Tess Booth in Shortboard and Longboard followed by Scout Mitchell, who also competed successfully in both divisions, taking second. Jade Howson was looking very stylish and smooth for a third in Longboard, while Mia Moore did well for a fourth in Shortboard.”

Laguna Beach Schenk

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Photo by Ellen Nelsen

Joseph Schenk 

The performances carried through as Zac Henderson continued to dominate the Longboard field coming in with a win. According to the coaches, they had a Bodyboard heat this time around and Dylan Zoller did very well to finish in second.

Laguna Beach Scout and Tess

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Photo by Ellen Nelsen

Scout Mitchell, Tess Booth, and Mia Moore 

Coaches Finn and Cairns give “A big thank you to the families, friends and teammates who showed up to support the team and Ellen Nelsen for the nice action shots in between her work schedule!”

On Thursday, Oct 3, league competition will begin at Thalia where Laguna will take on Dana Hills.


Laguna Beach Football improves to 4-1 with rout of Estancia in league opener

Photos by Luna Tarazi

Laguna Beach Football 1

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LBHS Football soundly defeated Estancia 49-3 at home on Friday in the team’s league opener, improving to 4-1 on the season

Laguna Beach Football 2

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Noah Diver with the ball – he finished with 102 receiving yards on the game and another 13 yards on a kickoff return

Laguna Beach Football 1

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Defense wins ball games – the Breakers gave up just 3 points, a field goal in the second quarter, to Estancia.

LBHS squares off against Marina High School (Huntington Beach) at home on Friday at 7 p.m. in an exciting Homecoming matchup.


LBUSD Board of Education moves forward on live streaming

At its August 13 meeting, the LBSUD Board of Education reached consensus to move forward with the closed-captioned live streaming of school board meetings. At this week’s September 24 meeting, the board took action to approve the purchase of an audio/visual recording system to live stream board meetings with live closed captions from Swagit Productions LLC. The system will fully integrate with BoardDocs Pro, the online agenda provider that the district has selected. 

Presently, and until installation is complete, LBUSD records School Board meetings and makes them available to the public within 24 hours. The next meeting on Tuesday, Oct 8 will not be live-streamed but will be available on the district website on Wednesday, Oct 9.

Visit www.lbusd.org/boardmeetings to watch previous meetings. 

For more information on all action items, visit www.lbusd.org

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 8 at 6 p.m.


The SeaDog Skim Challenge returns this weekend to raise funds for PMMC

The SeaDog Skim Challenge is back again for two days this weekend, on Saturday, Sept 28 and Sunday, Sept 29, at Aliso Beach starting at 8 a.m. Funds raised will support the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC). 

This not-for-profit skimboarding contest is open to Amateur and Professional skimboarders of all ages and genders. Four-time Skimboarding World Champion Sam Stinnett is the host The SeaDog Skim Challenge for the third time. 

After the contest ends on Sunday, there will be an awards ceremony and

fundraiser to honor competitors and gift them with prize bags, as well as provide

opportunities for the community to donate to the cause.

Opportunities include an optional entry-fee to the ceremony for non-contestants, donating any amount to PMMC, purchasing raffle tickets, and bidding on silent auction items. Raffle prizes include Vissla shopping sprees, Catch Surf surfboards, Sector 9 skateboards, and much more. 

The SeaDog Blair

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Submitted photo

Skimboarder Blair Conklin at last year’s contest 

The awards ceremony will be hosted at Laguna Beach Beer Company, who has generously donated their space for the cause. All net profits from the contest, awards ceremony, and individual donations will go directly to PMMC.

The SeaDog Skim Challenge has raised over $8,000 for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center so far with its 2016 and 2017 events, and this year, the organizers hope to raise even more. 

To sign up and/or donate, or for more information about the event and sponsors, visit www.theseadogskimchallenge.com and follow along at @theseadogskimchallenge on Instagram.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals, and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education, and collaboration. To learn more, visit www.pacificmmc.org.


LBHS students join Together4Teens panel on Oct 12 to discuss teenagers’ mental health 

On Saturday, Oct 12, the Wellness and Prevention Center will host a half-day Together4Teens event at Capistrano Valley High School to address the topic of mental health and the pressure teenagers face in our current culture. This event is for students and parents and will feature a panel that includes students from Laguna Beach High School (LBHS). Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the session begins at 9 a.m. 

There will be Java on the Go and Just Chilln’ Ice Cream trucks, giveaways, a resource fair, and an opportunity to earn up to five community service hours. This event is for adults and teens ages 12 and up.

Startling statistics

According to a NAMI report in 2015, one in five teens ages 13-18 experience a severe mental health disorder, one in six U.S. youths aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year, and suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10-34. 

The event will include students from several schools in Orange County: Laguna Beach High School, San Clemente High School, Aliso Niguel High School, and Sage Hill School in Newport Beach. The teens will each go to different breakout sessions, and the event will conclude with a student panel in which they will address the topics presented and discuss the real world in which teens are living today.

Community Prevention Director for Wellness and Prevention Center Lauren Gallegos, ACSW, says, “One Laguna Beach student who asked to join the panel is passionate about mental health and helping his peers. He hopes to start a mental health club on campus this year.” 

LBHS students group at school 

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Submitted photo

LBHS students during leadership training this past week

Together4Teens’ keynote speaker will be Adam Grabowski, America’s Got Talent finalist and APCA’s comic of the year for 2017. He brings his humor and personal experience with depression and anxiety to open a dialogue about mental health with his #SAYITANYWAY campaign. 

According to Gallegos, this is the first event of this scale they’ve had. “This is a half-day event with breakout sessions, a keynote speaker, and a teen panel. In the past, we have hosted a series for teens and parents called ‘your teen toolbox’ that brought speakers in on important topics for parents of teens including social media, vaping, communication, and anxiety.” 

Breakout sessions for teens and parents

In total there will be 12 breakout sessions – six for parents and six for teens – with topics that include supporting LGBT youth, coping skills, building resiliency, social media and more. Some speakers who are attending are Dr. Micaela Thordarson from CHOC, Brit Cervantes from UCI, Sgt. Clayton Cranford, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Gina Biegel, CEO of Stressed Teens, among others. 

The Wellness & Prevention Center is the fiscal agent for the Wellness & Prevention Coalition, a drug-free communities coalition that partners with various organizations, individuals, and professionals to reduce youth substance use and increase support of youth mental health. 

Gallegos says, “Mission Hospital is one of those agencies and they work very closely with LBHS through their on-campus club ‘Strength in Numbers.’ This past weekend we held a leadership training for youth at LBHS with students from both San Clemente and Laguna. The training was designed to provide skills and support for youth to create positive change on the campus, be that reduction of drug and alcohol use or increased awareness of mental health.”

LBHS students Adam

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Courtesy of adamgrabowski.com

Keynote speaker Adam Grabowski 

The idea for this event came about from a group of organizations and community members in South Orange County who want to see more education around mental health of teens. 

“We have seen increased rates of anxiety and stress among teens in the South County cities, and it shows that they are not immune to suicide and one is too many,” says Gallegos. “The teen panel idea was generated by the Laguna Niguel Youth Committee, they are part of the planning committee and they said it was very important for parents and teens to not only hear from professionals but from the voices of the teens themselves. 

Youth committee chose workshop topics

“This gives other teens an opportunity to feel heard and perhaps understand that they are not alone and for parents to take a different lens on the pressures that teens are facing. Oftentimes we find that the adults are the ones making the decisions as to what youth need to hear and what is important to them and this gives youth the voice. The youth committee also guided the workshop topics and said that of the most important were suicide, LGBT youth, and social media.”

The event was planned and sponsored by the Wellness & Prevention Center, Bloom Foundation, CalOptima, Mission Hospital, CHOC Children’s Hospital, NCADD (National Council and Alcohol and Drug Dependence), Olive Crest, City of Laguna Niguel, Tilly’s Life Center, and Newport Academy. It was a combined effort to bring this important topic to the South OC communities. 

Capistrano Valley High School is located at 26301 Via Escolar, Mission Viejo.

For more information on the event and to register, click here.

For information on the campaign for the club supported by Mission Hospital, go to www.strengthinnumbersoc.org.

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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