Laguna Beach students dodge, dip and dive for SchoolPower


More than 370 costumed players on 47 teams bounced, blasted and bumped balls at Laguna Beach High School on Oct. 10 for SchoolPower’s 12th annual Dodgeball Tournament. 

Seventh grade team Baby Ballers, 7th-8th grade division costume winners, at SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament. Photo/Peter Black

The popular event raised over $14,000 for SchoolPower, a nonprofit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981.

“The dodgeball tournament is the best,” said Zane Sweet, whose son played for Da Evil Minions. “Seeing the boys and girls play together in a light-hearted and competitive sport with hilarious costumes is so much fun for the kids and parents.”

Sixth grader Jackson Burns of the Flame Throwers team reacts on the court during SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament. Photo/Peter Black

Craig Ballard, first-time coach of the Eminem’s, said the event was the perfect opportunity for our community to come together.

“It’s a great reminder of how lucky we are to live in this beautiful city surrounded by people who really care,” Ballard said.  

Masterminded by Dodgeball chairs Christy and Brian Rayburn, the event could not have happened without the enthusiasm of hundreds of parent coaches, cheering spectators, volunteer referees and timekeepers. 

Fourth graders Scarlett Kollack and Sloane Swanson discuss strategy for their team, Pink Panthers, at SchoolPower’s Dodgeball Tournament. Photo/Candice Dartez Photography

Carrie Gardner’s El Morro kindergarten and 1st grade kids were there to cheer on their older friends—and admire the costumes. 

“It’s our favorite spectator sport of the year,” she said. 

Costumes included sparkles, wild wigs, eye-popping color and tutus, which could be seen in every corner of the gyms. 

A DJ in the LBHS courtyard boosted the excitement, plus players enjoyed Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Wigz sandos, tacos and snacks. 

Master of Ceremonies Christy Rayburn, Erin Berryman and Stacey Johnson announced action on the courts in both LBHS gyms. Competition between teams was fast and furious across all three divisions, focus was fierce and cheers erupted from teams at each match rotation. 

Thurston seventh-grade student Destin Deng embraced the teamwork spirit of the event. 

“Dodgeball is one of the things I look forward to every year. Thank you so much to our coach and all of the parents who made this happen,” he said. 

Beyond bragging rights, champions from each division won up to $500 in prize money to designate to a teacher or school program of their choice. 

“From costumes to gameplay, the afternoon was filled with happy kids, proud parents, and intense competition,” said sixth grade parent Maria St. John. “The volunteers were amazing. The entire event was well organized. SchoolPower really knows how to bring our community together.”

Law firm Hueston Hennigan presented Dodgeball XII. Livel Real Estate Meital Taub Luxury Group, Ballesteros Real Estate Group, Willhoit Construction, DiGiovanni Orthodontics, Hobie Surf Shop and The Ranch at Laguna Beach joined as Court Sponsors.

Dodgeball Winners

Division Winners

3rd-4th – UntouchaBALLS

5th-6th – Da Evil Minions

7th-8th – Ninja Balls

Best Costume Winners

3rd-4th – Eminem’s

5th-6th – Da Evil Minions

7th-8th – Baby Ballers

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