Briefly In Education

Youth theater classes at Playhouse

Enrollment is now open for winter Youth Theatre Classes at the Laguna Playhouse. Children ages 6 to18 can learn the skills of performing live on stage through 10-week classes including creative drama, acting fundamentals, intermediate acting, acting for teens and musical theatre workshop.

The Creative Drama Workshop, open to children ages 6 to 8, is an introduction to acting, where students will explore self-expression through creative dramatics and acting exercises and will learn to increase their imagination, concentration and memorization skills. The class will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays from Monday through March 28 at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. Cost is $200 per child.

Aspiring actors ages 9 to 11 will learn "how to" with monologues, improvisation, scenes and audition techniques in the acting fundamentals course, where their individual creative needs will be nurtured and explored. Taught by Jane Hilary, classes will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, from Tuesday through March 22 at the Woman's Club of Laguna Beach. Cost is $200.

All ages are welcome in this discovery process of acting skills while working on scenes, monologues, ensemble pieces and character work in the Intermediate Acting class, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays from Wednesday through March 23 at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. Cost is $200.

Open to teens ages 13 to 18, Acting For Teens is a rapidly-moving course that will offer continuous work on "using and working from self" as well as audition techniques, monologues, scene study, improvisation, and basic character work. The class will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays, from Thursday through March 24 at the Boys & Girls Club. Cost is $200.

Perfect for beginning and intermediate students, the Musical Theatre Workshop will teach kids ages 9 to 12 healthy singing techniques, ensemble songs, and how to present yourself at an audition. Each student will also work on individual song selections. Led by Diane King Vann, classes will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays, from Jan. 15 through April 2 at the Laguna Playhouse. Cost is $225.

For more information, visit To enroll in a class, call Kelly Herman at (949) 497-2787, Ext. 230.

Students make a difference through deeds

Finding new ways to make a positive difference in the world, Thurston Middle School Leadership Class students recently initiated a new program called Students Performing Unselfish Deeds.

Last fall, students in the program reached out to help the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter for one of their first projects, where they learned that an important need for the shelter was dog treats. Students collected more than 35 bags of dog treats.

"For more than 20 years, animals in the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter have benefited from the generosity of students from Laguna Beach Unified School District," said Shelter Manager Nancy Goodwin. "We always have a need for towels, blankets, and special treats for the animals in our care. The bags of dog treats donated by the Thurston Middle School Leadership Class were really appreciated."

This spring, the program will expand its project by initiating a schoolwide collection to help abandoned pets at the Orange County Animal Shelter.

School Board Recognition Month

The California School Boards Assn. will pay tribute to the more than 5,000 men and women dedicated to providing quality public education to students by serving districts throughout the state.

Along with other California school districts and county offices, Laguna Beach Unified School District will celebrate January as School Board Recognition Month.

"Our school board members are closely connected to the community of Laguna Beach and fulfill their roles thoughtfully and responsibly," said district Supt. Sherine Smith. "We are fortunate to be served by such a forward-thinking school board. Their collaborative approach to leadership has helped our schools become sterling examples of excellence in education."

One of the important responsibilities of the board is to ensure that education funding is allocated to the appropriate programs and resources. Educational funding has been reduced in California by nearly $18 billion over the past two years, according to the district.

Even Start kids enjoy holiday sharing

The week before Winter Break was filled with community celebrations for the students of the Even Start Preschool Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, a free school readiness program that serves 3- and 4-year-olds living in low-income households.

Students in Thurston Middle's PAL Club, a peer and community outreach program, brought donuts, hot chocolate and gifts for the children, while volunteer Lisa Fredette and her daughter Sydney, brought 60 Build-A-Bears, to be given to all the children in the program and their siblings, as well as the children of the La Playa Center. The children also had a visit from Santa Claus, who came bearing gifts and good cheer. In return, the pre-schoolers performed holiday songs and gave handmade cards to the seniors at the new Senior Center at the annual luncheon, where they and their families shared lunch with the Center's members. The week's festivities culminated in the annual party with the Laguna Beach Police Department, where officers brought gifts for each child and the parents of the children brought food to share with the police.

"This is one of the best times of the year for our children, parents, and staff," said Terry Anne Barman, preschool director. "We all have the opportunity to share time with members of our wonderful community. It is so beautiful to see the children embracing the seniors and the members of our Police Department. It is also a wonderful experience for their parents who have an opportunity to be a part of our community and to be able to give what they can to express their appreciation for all that the residents of Laguna Beach do for them."

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