Class Notes

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Thurston Forensics Students Historic Reenact Crime Scene


On March 21, forensics students from Thurston Middle School created a simulated mock crime scene using criminal investigation methods and techniques. Photo courtesy of LBUSD

On March 21, forensics students from Thurston Middle School created a simulated mock crime scene using criminal investigation methods and techniques in order to solve the mystery of four unidentified bodies found on Gallows Hill in Salem in 1692.

The reenactment of the crime scene at Alta Laguna Park provided students with the opportunity to participate in activities pertaining to science and law in order to help students prepare for a career in forensic science. The crime scene was filmed, written, and performed by the students.

Thurston Middle School students work to solve the mystery of four unidentified bodies found on Gallows Hill in Salem in 1692. Photo courtesy of LBUSD

Noelle Martinez, coordinator of Thurston Forensics, and School Resource Officer Cpl. Cornelius Ashton, of the Laguna Beach Police Department, were on scene to help evaluate the students based on the proper method of criminal investigation. Ashton and Martinez also assisted with processing and analyzing the evidence at the Thurston Crime Lab to help identify the victims.




El Morro’s Jog-A-Thon Shares Love of Fitness, Community Spirit

El Morro Elementary School held its annual fundraiser “Jog-A-Thon” benefitting the El Morro PTA on Friday, March 22. Community members, parents, teachers, and local businesses joined in the fun by cheering on students and offering prizes for all students after the event.

Laguna Beach Police officers and lifeguards from Crystal Cove State Park awarded each student with a medal after running. Students proudly told the officers and lifeguards how many laps they ran and shared stories about their experience.

Staff from California State Parks and Crystal Cove lifeguards were just some of the participants that supported El Morro Elementary’s Jog-A-Thon fundraiser on March 22. Photo courtesy of Stan Sholik Photography.

Funds raised from this year’s Jog-A-Thon will fund PTA programs at El Morro Elementary School such as Art Masters, Colonial Days, Character Counts, Science on the Go, Reading Counts, teacher and classroom grants, field trips, the El Morro Gardening Program, After School Clubs, Science Lab, technology in the classroom, and more.










LBUSD Programs Receive Festival of Arts Foundation Grants

Laguna Beach Unified School District was awarded four grants totaling $18,000 from the Festival of Arts (FOA) Foundation to enhance fine arts programs at Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School.

The Laguna Beach High School art, drama, and ceramics programs each received $5,000. At Thurston Middle School, the drama program received $2,000, and the multimedia program received $1,000.

Laguna Beach High School’s recent production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” was funded in part by a Festival of Arts Foundation grant that was awarded to the LBHS drama program. Photo courtesy of LBUSD

The Laguna Beach FOA Foundation was incorporated in 1989 to preserve and promote the fine arts and other artistic endeavors in Laguna Beach. The foundation operates independently from the Festival of Arts. To date, the Festival of Arts, along with the Foundation, has cumulatively awarded nearly $2.6 million in grants to the art community in Laguna Beach.

“I am grateful to the Festival of Arts Foundation for their generous support of Thurston’s multimedia program and for providing my students with the unique opportunity to learn about astrophotography,” said Thurston Middle School Multimedia Teacher Andy Crisp. “With this grant, we will be able to purchase a high-quality telescope, filter, and camera mount and host Thurston’s first ever astronomy night. Astrophotography is a challenging, yet really fun field of photography, and I am super excited to bring this art form to my students.”

Teachers have used the grants to provide students with real-world experiences and opportunities, including after-school open level master classes for the dance program and exhibit opportunities for the arts and ceramics programs at local galleries.

“Thanks to continued support from the Festival of Arts Foundation, we’ve been able to provide our Laguna Beach High School drama students with unique and meaningful opportunities both on stage and in the classroom,” said Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Drama Teacher and Director Alexis Karol. “This year, we’re excited to partner with the FOA Foundation at Thurston Middle School as well, as we focus on aligning our middle school drama coursework with the high school’s CTE Pathway in drama. Through the generosity of organizations like the Festival of Arts, we can provide quality production values and innovative curriculum designed to prepare our students for college, career, and beyond.”

The FOA Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the visual and performing arts in the LBUSD and will be recognized at a future school board meeting. For more information about the Festival of Arts Foundation, including its grants and scholarships, visit


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