Briefly In Education

Scouts collect food for needy

The Boy and Girl Scouts of America will collect food donations for the needy through Sunday at Albertson's, 309022 S. Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach, to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Scouts will be stationed outside of the store, and will collect non-perishable food items such as canned meats, rice, beans and soup.


Holiday greens and fudge sale

Laguna Beach High School Safe and Sober 2011 and 2012 Grad Nights will hold their annual Greens and Fudge fundraiser through Nov. 19.

Offered are two sizes of a mixed greens wreath, a 15-foot cedar garland or fudge.

Pick-up dates are Dec. 4 and 11 in the school district parking lot, 505 Blumont St. For more information, call Kerry Jones at (949) 212-2612 or e-mail at The order form is available at


Coffee Break with child-development experts

The Laguna Beach PTA will host a Coffee Break from 8:15 to 10 a.m. Wednesday with two local psychologists to discuss how parents can become more effective in parenting their elementary-school age children.

The $5 event includes coffee, tea and pastries, and will be held in the multipurpose room at Top of the World Elementary School.

Michele Blair, marriage and family therapist and educational psychologist, will discuss the social and emotional development of kids. She will share useful tips on how to recognize and develop social competence and emotional literacy.

Licensed educational and school psychologist Dudley Wiest will focus on cognitive development, emphasizing what to look for in terms of proper attention, memory and processing skills.

The program is designed to give parents a clearer understanding of how they can assist their children to become better learners.

Participants are asked not to park on campus, but to park on neighborhood streets.


Cheerleader in Thanksgiving parade

Senior cheer captain Kassi Miller will represent Laguna Beach High in the 84th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day during a trip to New York for the "Spirit of America" campaign.


Students part of Hunger Awareness Week

Thurston Middle School students joined the city of Laguna Beach last week to participate in the National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, where they decorated food bins donated by Waste Management of Orange County, collected food and clothing items for the Laguna Relief and Resource Center and Childhelp Fund, and served as hosts and waiters at the "Hunger Bowl" event, which raised awareness and money through a community soup dinner and art sales.

Organized by Thurston's student leaders, Associated Student Body, Peer Assistance and Leadership Class, students and faculty worked together to give back to the community.

Faculty advisor Carrie Leventhal said she was impressed with the cooperative effort of everyone involved.

"Our kids are really enjoying this new endeavor, and we appreciate the city and district's involvement as well," she said. "We'll be touring the food bank and shelter in December, as well as delivering the food, and we know it will be a meaningful day for them."


SchoolPower callers ring up pledges

SchoolPower wrapped up its final calling night last week with a remarkable showing of generosity from long time supporters, Holly and David Wilson, said Community Campaign Chairwoman Carol Normandin.

The Wilsons, who had already donated $15,000 in matching funds earlier in the campaign for new 2010 donors, offered to match another $10,000 for a total of $25,000.

"Everyone who has a child in Laguna Beach schools owes Holly and David Wilson a sincere thank you," she said. "Their commitment to public education is truly inspiring."

Normandin has chaired the Community Campaign for four years, taking over for Bill Steel who ran it for a decade prior. In a tough economy, she has set lofty goals and managed to exceed them.

The Community Campaign has brought in more than $1 million to Laguna's schools since Carol took over in 2007, SchoolPower President Robin Rounaghi said. The campaign has collected about $340,000 in donations and pledges so far this year.

"With $105,000 pledged and still to be gifted, the campaign's not over," Normandin said.

"Carol's unmatched passion for raising money for Laguna schools is downright contagious, and she has the team to show for it," Rounaghi said. "The fact that she's able to maintain such a high level of enthusiasm and commitment year after year is simply amazing."

Through the Community Campaign, parent volunteers call families throughout the school district and ask for donations of any amount.

To support SchoolPower's 2010 Campaign, visit or calling (949) 494-6811.


LEGOnatics bring home trophies

Local LEGO fanatics recently brought home trophies from the Orange County First LEGO League Robotics Competition, where they mixed robotics and LEGOs to earn first place in the Robot Performance category and second place overall.

Team LEGOna Beach is having its second year of success with Thurston students Michael Beu, Jack Fast, and Michael Wogulis and elementary students Perry Cheves, JP Debarber and Nils Nietsch.

Part of an international league, the team's challenge this year was to use LEGOs and robotics to help explore ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and improving the body's potential through the "Body Forward" theme.

The students' skills shined in robot design as well as the project portion of the tournament in which they played out a skit entitled "Nanobots vs. Virus." The performance was inspired by curriculum from Linda Hill-Lindsay's science class at Thurston Middle School.

Research field trips to UCI's Beckman Laser Institute and team sponsor Horiba Medical Instruments also provided background information for the creative team members.

"It's amazing how well the kids work together to solve problems," head coach Brendon Cheves said. "Each person brings a unique talent to the table that makes it a huge success. We all have an insanely fun time."

FIRST LEGO league encourages development of teamwork, robotics, and presentation skills. The fruits of labor are demonstrated at regional competitions each year where thousands of kids show their projects and tackle robotics challenges.

With the second-place trophy, LEGOna Beach will advance to the championship tournament held at LEGOland in December.


Cub Scouts tour city jail

Five Wolf Cub Scouts from Laguna Beach Pack 35 toured the Laguna Beach Police Department and its jail last week, to learn about safety and see first hand the duties of their community's law enforcement personnel.

The group of 7-year-old boys got a tour of the facility by Community Service Officer Coleen Walloch, a 10-year veteran of the Laguna Beach Police Department who focuses her efforts on educating the public about safety and coordinating the Laguna Beach Neighborhood Watch program. Her presentation to the Cub Scouts was geared both toward home safety and helping the young scouts effectively handle encounters with strangers.

The LBPD and the Boy Scouts of America have a long history of cooperation. Law Enforcement Exploring, a division of the Boy Scouts, provides volunteer traffic control officers to Laguna Beach regularly during the summer months. The corps of 18- to 21-year-old uniformed volunteers direct traffic through intersections to avoid congestion on downtown streets during peak hours. The young Police Explorers gain meaningful exposure to careers in law enforcement while serving their community.

Cub Scout Pack 35 serves boys aged 6 to 11 and is chartered to the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, where pack meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month. For more information, contact

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