Weekly roundup: OCDE honors Santiago High teacher for alcohol and drug prevention, Laguna Beach High senior makes history, and more

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Santiago High School teacher Shannon Bennett received a surprise visit on Oct. 14 from her colleagues, district leaders, family, students and representatives from OCDE. (Courtesy of the Garden Grove Unified School District)

A health teacher from Santiago High School received a surprise visit from her students, family and representatives from the Orange County Department of Education as they presented her with the 2022 Linda Kearns Community Prevention Award.

The Orange County Substance Abuse Prevention Network commended Shannon Bennett for her leadership in the area of drug and alcohol prevention. She is credited for building one of the strongest and most consistent Friday Night Live Clubs, or FNL, in Orange County, spearheading powerful efforts that engage young people in substance abuse prevention initiatives.

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Bennett stood by OCDE Prevention Coordinator Stephan Lambert as she addressed her visitors and class.

“A key reason for the club’s success is Shannon’s supportive presence and genuine interest in her students’ well-being,” said OCDE Prevention Education Coordinator Stephan Lambert. “For many students, she is their trusted adult, ally and mentor — a strong protective factor against substance use and other risk behaviors.”

In addition to her leadership with FNL, Bennett also serves as her high school’s Tobacco-Use Prevention Education lead, in which she organizes parent education events and maintains strong community partnerships to support her students.

“Shannon is an amazing representation of how deeply GGUSD educators care for students and how much time and talent they invest in advocating for the best interests of their students,” said GGUSD Board of Education trustee Walter Muneton.

The Orange County Substance Abuse Prevention Network established this award in 2006 to honor educators like Linda Kearns, who dedicated 30 years of work in the field of youth alcohol, tobacco, drugs, violence, HIV/AIDS and teen pregnancy prevention.

Here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • Laguna Beach senior Bella Rasmussen made history in California as the first girl to score two touchdowns during a high school football game.
  • A Garden Grove Unified student is earning global recognition for his creation of a prototype for an early cancer-detecting toothbrush.
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Darlene Machacon teaches students the Garden Grove Unified School District. (Courtesy of ABC 7)
  • The choir director at La Quinta High School was interviewed by ABC 7 before flying out to Tennessee for the Country Music Awards Teachers of Excellence event. Darlene Machacon was the only educator in the state to receive the honor.
  • California State University, Fullerton informed Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District leaders that it is pausing placement of its student teachers in the system’s classrooms. As the Los Angeles Times reported, the university cited concerns that district policies conflict with its goals to promote equity and inclusion in eduction.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.