Laurel Elementary Magnet School in Brea celebrates its centennial birthday

Laurel School began serving the Brea community back in September 1921. According to the Brea Olinda Unified School District, the campus cost just $50,000 to build, and it started out with 139 students.

With construction fast-tracked to accommodate enrollment, Laurel had to open without a kindergarten classroom. So the youngest students were taught in retail office buildings until the school was completed in 1922.

Brea Olinda Unified leaders outside Laurel
The BOUSD Board of Education and Executive Cabinet gather to celebrate Laurel’s centennial. From left: Assistant Superintendent Rick Champion, Trustee Nicole Colon, Trustee Paul Ruiz, Trustee Carrie Flanders, Laurel Principal Lauren Tovar, Trustee Deana Miller, Trustee Gail Lyons, Deputy Superintendent Brinda Leon and Assistant Superintendent Phil D’Agostino.

Fast forward 100 years, and Laurel School is now Laurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration. And for a campus that just hit the century mark, it doesn’t seem to be showing its age.

On Tuesday, current students and staff were joined by former faculty members, BOUSD board members, district leaders, business partners, and local and state dignitaries for a celebration of the school’s centennial birthday.

Highlights included a “Walk Through the Decades” by Laurel’s PAL students, a musical mash-up by the Laurel choir, a tree dedication ceremony, a scavenger hunt and a ’60s classic car show.

With a history that stretches back 100 years, Laurel has seen more than its share of changes — including its own transformation in 2016. That’s when Laurel Elementary Magnet School was launched.

Today, the campus serves about 450 students — they’re known as the Leopards — who have access to one-to-one technology devices, enabling them to engage in STEAM programs, tackle project-based learning and collaborate with community business partners.

In 2019, the California School Boards Association presented Laurel with a Golden Bell Award for its partnerships and collaborations.

For more information on Laurel, visit