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School Board Wrap-up

The following is from the Sept. 28 meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.

Spotlight on Excellence


Laguna Beach High School French teacher Odile Dewar was honored for a recent award she received from French Consul General David Martinon for her outstanding education contributions.

The board thanked Dewar for her continued effort to bring students a multicultural and diverse educational experience through teaching them not only about the French language, but cuisine, ideals, fashion, ideals and many other aspects of their culture.


Upon receiving flowers from Board President Ketta Brown, Dewar thanked the Board for their “familial” support and her students for instilling in her the desire to keep teaching.

She concluded with a “Merci beaucoup.”

Exchange students share their gratitude

Laguna Beach High School Principal Don Austin introduced four students from Winona Secondary School in Winona, Mississippi and their principal, Charlie Parkerson, who arrived earlier this week to embark on the high school’s new Cultural Exchange program.


The students gave the Board a peek into their lives through a short film they created of slide photos of their hometown and interviews with faculty, staff and students at their school, who shared what they like most about being from Winona as well as any stereotypes they have about Southern California.

Only two days into the social “experiment,” which Austin and Parkerson said they developed to enrich the lives of their students by opening their eyes to a new and different culture, the four visitors said many of their stereotypes had been dispelled. Most notably, they were surprised to discover that much like their own town of 5,000 people, Laguna Beach is also a small town with a tight-knit community. They were especially happy to learn that when students walk down the halls at LBHS, they know everyone they pass.

Each of the Winona students personally thanked the Board for allowing them the opportunity to visit, and expressed what a benefit the experience has been by allowing them to see how much opportunity exists in the world and encouraging them to go after it.

Board President Ketta Brown presented each student and their principal with a gift, and thanked them in return for sharing their experiences, hence enriching the lives of Laguna’s students.


Austin will take four students from LBHS to Winona Secondary School in a few months, where they will have the opportunity to experience their culture first-hand. Both Austin and Parkerson said they have recruited nine more schools who are eager to participate in the Cultural Exchange, and anticipate many more will jump on the bandwagon.

SchoolPower off to a powerful start

Vice President of SchoolPower Marcus Skenderian thanked the Board and community for their support at the prior evening’s annual Claes Dinner, where more than 200 people came to honor the late Claes Andersen, and to donate more than $19,000 for the organization.

He also announced that a fundraising Dodgeball Tournament, open to kids and adults, will take place at 4 p.m. Oct. 14 at Dugger Gym.

For more information or to sign up, visit