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Laguna Beach


LBUSD placed on the College Board’s 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll 

Laguna Beach Unified School District is one of 373 school districts in the U.S. and Canada being honored by the College Board with placement on the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll. 

To be included on the 9th Annual Honor Roll, LBUSD had to, since 2016, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP exam scores of 3 or higher. 

LBUSD placed school

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LBUSD earns College Board’s AP District Honor Roll

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. 

“I am always impressed by the ongoing success of our students,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason Viloria. “These are rigorous courses that demand a high level of dedication, and I am proud to see an increase in student participation as a result of the ongoing efforts of our staff to identify and support students who have not traditionally accessed AP courses and through the addition of new AP course offerings. In our focus on continuous improvement, we have dedicated resources to ensure that every student feels supported academically and social-emotionally as they take on these challenges,” he concluded. 

In 2018, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2016 to 2018, looking across 38 AP exams, including world language and culture. 

In order to qualify, districts must: 

Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts; increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams; increase or maintain the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring a 3 or higher on at least one AP exam; and improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2018 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2016 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher.

The complete 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.


LBHS Girls Basketball is 15-1 after going winless all of last season

LBHS Girls Basketball continues its remarkable turnaround season, ending the week with a 15-1 record.

“It’s been a lot of fun watching the girls’ hard work pay off,” said Coach Matthew Tietz. “I expected us to be better and competitive and the girls were skeptical but hopeful, but I don’t think anyone saw this kind of success coming. I’m very proud of these girls.”

LBHS Girls

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2018-19 LBHS Girls Varsity Basketball team (missing Hana Ford and Claire Smithers)

 “This is the mid-way point of the regular season and the schedule gets significantly harder from here…next week we start our Sunset League schedule and we know that even a single victory from that point on will be hard to come by. The girls are ready to battle and we’ll see what happens,” said Coach Tietz.

The success of the season thus far has come from great team defense that is allowing just 18 points per game and an unselfish, balanced offense that has everyone contributing, according to Coach Tietz. 

The team is being led by senior Point Guard Mia Pitz. She is averaging 12 points, 3.7 assists and 3.8 steals per game and her season totals in those categories put her near or at the top of the CIF Division 5A rankings. Junior Madi Garwal’s 170 rebounds is putting her on a pace to destroy the school record of 293 she set last season and is currently 3rd in the entire state in that category. Another great two-way and all around player, Madi is averaging 7.2 points, 13.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.2 blocks per game. The third returning starter, junior Julia Henry continues to be a force on defense leading Division 5A and 10th in the state with 32 blocked shots. The other two starting spots have been filled nicely by freshmen Anna Cheng and Autumn Moreland. Anna leads the team in scoring at 13.3 points per game and her 35 3-pointers ranks #1 in Division 5A and #4 in the entire state. That number also surpasses school legend Alexandra Lewis’ total for a freshman at LBHS. Her 55 steals also ranks #1 in Division 5A. Autumn has provided the team with much-needed physicality inside. Despite giving up several inches in height to her opponents, Autumn’s tenacity has resulted in 9.9 rebounds per game. She also contributes at the offensive end with 3.2 points per game. 

The bench has also has made significant contributions to the team’s success. Sydney Mangus, Clarice Curras, Laila Hassan, Rebecca Sanchez, Zoe Payne-Carter, and Claire Smithers as a group have averaged 5.9 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. The team also has Hana Ford waiting in the wings as she complies with CIF’s mandatory sit out period for transfers. 

“Hana will be a force inside and figures to be a large part of the team’s end of season push for a spot in the CIF playoffs,” said Coach Tietz.

The Breakers’ next game is against Corona del Mar on Tuesday on the road. Tip-off is at 5 p.m.


Watch and listen for the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts caroling with Santa on the trolley this Friday

On Friday, Dec 14 from 4 - 9 p.m., hundreds of local girl scouts will be on board the trolleys singing holiday carols for the community to enjoy, while they traverse the streets of downtown Laguna.

Watch and Santa

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Local Girl Scouts join Santa on the trolley for a night of Christmas caroling fun

In addition to caroling for the Laguna community, participating girl scouts will also make hundreds of candy cane cards for our military troops stationed abroad during the holidays. Join in with the holiday singing fun or simply stop and listen as they go by singing delightful songs. 


Laguna Beach Boys Scouts collected over 400 socks for the homeless 

Laguna’s Boy Scout Troop 35 and the congregation of its chartered organization, Laguna Presbyterian Church, collected socks for the homeless during the month of November. The service project was part of the Laguna Beach Hunger and Homeless Awareness Month outreach and brought in over 400 pairs of socks. 

Laguna Beach socks

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Troop 35 Amber Fox patrol members with the sock donations for the homeless in our community

The scouts advertised the service project through social media and at local schools, and had a great return. Of the more than 400 pairs of socks collected, 50 percent were for men, 30 percent were for women and 20 percent were for children. The socks included standard white and black socks as well as pastel colors, bold designs, and even two pairs of Mike Trout Angels socks. 

Laguna Beach Boy Scouts Troop 35 and Patrol meet every other Thursday at 7 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church. The troop is lead by Scoutmaster Clay Leeds. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeach35.mytroop.us.


School Board meeting agenda for tonight includes oath of office for re-elected Board members

The agenda for tonight’s (Tuesday, Dec 11) regular LBUSD Board meeting has been posted online here. The meeting will begin at 5:45 PM with the oath of office for re-elected Board members Carol Normandin and Dee Perry (James Kelly is not able to attend and will be sworn in at the next LBUSD Board meeting). Open session will begin at 6 p.m. 

The Board will hear a report from Dr. Viloria and Dr. Keller on the district’s journey to a K-12 social-emotional learning system. Action items include the first interim budget report.

School Board tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tonight’s LBUSD meeting will provide the community with important school-wide updates

On August 21, LBUSD staff presented information regarding the Social Emotional Supports implemented at LBUSD schools during the 2017-2018 school year and ongoing services in 2018-2019. 

Staff members also presented at the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health regarding LBUSD implementation and more recently presented at the California School Boards Association Annual Education Conference. 

This presentation will include an overview of the information presented at both conferences, and also provide an update to include fall Universal Social and Emotional Learning.


Jade Howson from LBHS wins gold in China

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Last month, when Stu News reported that Laguna Beach’s Jade Howson qualified as the top Jr 18 and Under for the USA to compete in the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, it was a cause for celebration. Now she and her family have even more to celebrate. Jade (along with her mother Kris) has just returned from the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships as a World Champion with a gold medal. 

It’s been a long haul for Jade, a 16-year-old junior at Laguna Beach High School, who has been paddleboarding since she was eight. 

As reported in SUP Magazine, “Jade Howson took a convincing win in the junior Technical races (this was the first time the ISA ran a junior division, a great addition to the event).” 

Jade Howson flag

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Jade proudly carries flag after her championship win

“After a week of action in Wanning, China for the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships, the 196 best paddlers in the world from 27 nations are headed back to their home countries. 

“The yearly team event, which features a SUP surfing competition and both SUP and paddleboard races in Sprint, Technical, Distance and Relay divisions, is unlike any other paddling competition in the world and features a veritable who-who of the world’s top talent.” 

Kris says, “Traveling to the other side of the Globe was a big trip. I didn’t know how all the changes and pressures would affect Jade. Seeing her dominate and win the gold medal in the first ever Jr Technical was very emotional. I know how hard Jade has worked over the past seven years and it clearly paid off. I was overwhelmed with joy and tears!”  

Jade Howson podium

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Jade wins gold

Robert, Jade’s dad, says, “I have always been a nervous dad. I want so much for my daughter to succeed as she has trained so hard to achieve her goals. Watching her in China, I was filled with such immeasurable pride! However, racing is never over until it is over. So much can happen even with a solid lead. You can have a physical problem, a mental error, or a mechanical failure of the board or paddle. Occasionally a lucky set wave can benefit the paddler from behind. All these things have happened to every seasoned racer. I was nervous for all those things. 

“Now it was Jade’s time on the biggest stage for pride and country! Gold! She won! I jumped up and down and yelled and screamed with my daughter Moorea. It could not get better than that for me! Jade was so far away. I wanted to hug her and Kris. I would have to wait. Days later came the Bronze in the sprints! Team USA killed it! The experience, win or lose, was a dream come true. How amazing it is for us to have a World Champion living under our roof!”  

Before the trip to China, Jade already had gathered many awards and honors.

Currently, she is ranked the 14th fastest woman in the world in the Paddle League Women’s World Rankings.

Now, Jade is the 2018 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships World Champion in the 18 and under Jr division and has the gold to prove it.

Congratulations!


LBHS musicians selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in NYC, will host free local concert Dec 10

Laguna Beach High School’s instrumental music groups have been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in April 2019. The local community is invited to come hear these LBHS students perform holiday music at a free Winter Concert on Monday, Dec 10 at 7 p.m. in the LBHS Artists’ Theatre. 

LBHS Wind

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LBHS Wind Ensemble 

Under the direction of Jeremy Chung, members of the school’s Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band groups will travel to New York City to get coaching from Carnegie Hall’s professional music staff before their adjudicated concert performance together. 

“The kids had to compete with schools from all over the country for this opportunity,” said Chung. “It’s a big honor to be chosen.” 

LBHS Symphonic

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LBHS Symphonic Band 

Local support has meant a lot to these music students; earlier this year, the Festival Of Arts Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Boosters who directly support these and additional instrumental music groups (jazz, strings, marching band, and drum line) at LBHS and Thurston Middle School. 

LBHS Artists’ Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.


Watch and listen for the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts caroling with Santa on the trolley, Dec 14

On Friday, Dec 14 from 4 - 9 p.m., hundreds of local girl scouts will be on board the trolleys singing holiday carols for the community to enjoy, while they traverse the streets of downtown Laguna.

Watch and Santa

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Local Girl Scouts join Santa on the trolley for a night of Christmas caroling fun

In addition to caroling for the Laguna community, participating girl scouts will also make hundreds of candy cane cards for our military troops stationed abroad during the holidays. Join in with the holiday singing fun or simply stop and listen as they go by singing delightful songs.


Troup 35 establishes a troop for Girls in Laguna Beach

Troop 35 in Laguna Beach will be expanding to include a troop for girls as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s new family scouting program. The Scout Me In campaign celebrates the BSA’s expansion of its programs to serve families by including girls under a program called Scouts BSA.   

Troop 35 logo

The new troop will be for girls ages 11 to 17. The troop for girls will begin meeting in February 2019 on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Laguna Presbyterian Church. Benefits of Scouts BSA include character development, team building and personal fitness. Girls will be eligible to work on ranks and merit badges to eventually earn the rank of Eagle Scout. 

Contact Tanya Hovanesian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the leadership opportunities of a troop for girls in Laguna Beach.


Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announces year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has announced the nonprofit’s year-end Holiday Blue Door fundraising campaign, highlighting the impact of the Club and how trained youth development professionals help kids reach their full potential. 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is asking the community to help more kids begin a great future with a tax-deductible year-end gift today as part of its year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign. This special drive offers the general public the opportunity to contribute to the life-changing programs the Club offers to children and teens in Laguna Beach and its surrounding area.

Boys an Girls kids

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Courtesy of B&GCLB Facebook

Students enjoying a fun day in the life of the Boys & Girls Club of LB

“Day in and day out, our Boys & Girls Club staff and mentors deliver quality experiences that make a difference in a youth’s life beyond their time at the Club. Research shows that kids who have an optimal experience at our Club are also more likely to have positive self-esteem, volunteer, and be engaged in school,” said Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

“Our year-end Holiday Blue Door campaign is a special time when we ask the community to contribute to the amazing impact our Club has on the lives of kids and teens,” comments Pam. 

A ballerina, astronaut or an all-star athlete, if a kid can dream it they can become it at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, with the community’s help. Pam adds, “Any donation – big or small – will make a difference! We thank all donors for helping us build a stronger community, and we couldn’t do our work on behalf of the children without their continued support.”

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach service area includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest and the surrounding communities, and occupies three sites in Laguna Beach: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch and Lang Branch. Together, they offer a nationally recognized and award-winning year-round out-of-school enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. 

From preschool to parenting classes, the Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. Being an indispensable asset to the families of our community is a Boys & Girls Club time-honored tradition. For over 60 years, the Boys & Girls Club strives to support the youth of Laguna Beach through out of school recreation that celebrates the whole child.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach or to make a donation, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org or call (949) 494-2535.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

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