Weekly roundup: Laguna Beach students inspire younger peers through engineering workshops, Sunburst Youth Academy celebrates milestone, and more

Laguna Beach High School Engineering Club

Laguna Beach High School’s Engineering Club, founded by rising senior Kamal Dimler, is aiming to make an impact this summer by sharing their passion for engineering with younger students at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Through engaging, hands-on activities such as building robots and designing structures, club members and volunteers, including rising seniors Perry Ribarich, Sebastian Lambrinos, Ji-Dan Attenborough and Enzo Casolari, along with rising juniors Kelsey Dearing and Liam Moore are teaching kids essential STEM principles and sparking their curiosity for various fields of engineering.

LBHS Engineering Club workshop

“This experience has reinforced my passion for physics and engineering and has taught me that I enjoy teaching others,” said Sebastian. “I have had a super fun time teaching the kids about STEM and helping them construct their projects during every engineering class.”

The club’s summer program includes fun projects like bottle rockets and egg drops, designed to make learning enjoyable while introducing concepts such as Newton’s Laws of Motion and energy transfer. These sessions are held on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a kid’s eyes light up when they grasp a concept or create a functional model,” said Kamal.

The club plans to continue these sessions into the fall and is developing a website to share their resources and encourage other schools and clubs to adopt similar programs, extending their mission of fostering a love for engineering throughout the community.

Here are the other stories we’ve been tracking this week:

Dr. Stefan Bean with the OC Board of Ed
  • Dr. Al Mijares will retire on June 30 after 12 years as Orange County Superintendent of Schools, prompting an invitation for educators and community members to submit brief reflections to communications@ocde.us by June 27 for possible publication in the OCDE Newsroom.
  • At Sunburst Youth Program’s recent commencement, the program celebrated its 5,000th graduate, marking a significant milestone for the partnership between the California National Guard and the Orange County Department of Education since its inception in January 2008.
  • Los Alamitos High School achieved a 100 percent graduation rate for the second consecutive year, credited to the district’s implementation of a range of innovative programs designed to support students at every step of their academic journey.
  • The 2023-2024 Orange County Grand Jury report highlights the rapid integration of artificial intelligence in education and urges OCDE and local school districts to implement comprehensive AI guidelines and training by June 30, 2025, to ensure responsible and equitable use of the technology in K-12 schools.
Former student Martha Trujillo earns her honorary certificate of promotion from eighth grade on May 31. (Fullerton School District)
  • Martha Trujillo, once expelled as an eighth-grader, received an honorary certificate of promotion from the Fullerton School District on May 31, marking a return after overcoming adversity to achieve academic success and inspire others.
  • The class of 2024 — the only cohort to have started its freshman year during a global pandemic — was celebrated by family and friends over the past few weeks as they received their high school diplomas, marking the close of graduation season in Orange County.
  • David Alfaro, a recent graduate from John F. Kennedy High School, is spreading the message “Substance Free is Alright with Me” through his original artwork displayed on transit shelters and buses in Orange County, after winning an art contest hosted by the Anaheim Union High School District and Waymakers.
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County received a $7 million donation from the Swenson Family Foundation to expand its WellSpaces — rooms where students can unwind and connect with mental health and other resources — according to the OC Register.
  • In a 5-2 vote on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District decided to prohibit cellphones and social media for students starting in the second semester of the 2024-25 academic year, citing concerns over academic performance, mental health and bullying.

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