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June 21, 2022


LBHS Completes its Inaugural Year of a New Interdisciplinary Environmental Program: LBHS FLOW 

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. ­- Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) implemented a brand new program titled LBHS FLOW for the 2021-2022 academic year. The mission of the FLOW program at LBHS is to allow all students to experience powerful connections with academic content, with each other, and with the community. The driving force is for students to possess a deep understanding and awareness of our unique natural environment and the value of mindful citizenship. In order to achieve this, the FLOW program was designed by David Brobeck and Sarah Benson, English teachers at LBHS, to implement an innovative approach to authentic learning and writing across the curriculum and weave together the student body, diverse academic disciplines, and community partners in a communal effort to strengthen students' stewardship of our natural environment. FLOW stands for fire, land, ocean, and water--four environmental issues particularly relevant to Laguna Beach.

This past year, students studied FLOW topics in grades 9-12 with experiences across the curriculum, including a common read and community partner events. SchoolPower furthered this support by selecting the LBHS FLOW program as their MegaGrant recipient in 2020 and continues to partner with FLOW, providing unparalleled educational opportunities to our Laguna Beach students.

The kick-off for the LBHS FLOW program this year was a week-long event titled FLOW Week in November. Coast Film Festival (CFF), spearheaded by Ben Warner and Enich Harris, partnered with LBHS FLOW to curate speakers and content from professional athletes, activists, and filmmakers, which were then presented to students in grade-level assemblies. Students heard from the likes of professional surfer Greg Long, filmmaker, Laguna Beach local Greg MacGillivray, and National Geographic filmmaker Pete McBride about environmental issues and our role to play. Partnering with CFF provided over 1,000 students a truly unique experience. The dynamic films and engaging speakers brought our LBHS FLOW topics to life. Students were inspired by the storytelling approach to environmental issues. These assemblies initiated important conversations that continued within LBHS classrooms and partnering with a community organization helps bring authenticity to real-life environmental issues.

In January, the entire student body read a memoir text connected to their respective FLOW topic for their grade level. Students engaged in reading, writing, and discussion, which employed knowledge from multiple disciplines to tackle the significance of environmental issues. The integration of community partners added depth to the experience. For example, freshmen (studying fire) participated in a presentation by the Laguna Beach Fire Department as well as a panel discussion with local residents who experienced the 1993 Laguna Beach fire. Sophomores (studying land) learned about the preservation of Laguna Canyon from Hallie Jones of the Laguna Canyon Foundation.

Throughout the year, the LBHS FLOW Club participated in FLOW Service Sundays with local community partners, including sustainable farming and composting with The Ranch, trail work with Laguna Canyon Foundation, and much more. Students were able to participate in and witness some of the many ways our community authentically does something about the environmental issues they've been learning about throughout their educational careers.

As a culminating service event, the senior class of 2022 participated in the inaugural LBHS FLOW Senior Service Day in May.

*Below is a recap of the day written by Taylor Viloria, Class of 2022:

On Tuesday, May 24th, the class of 2022 arrived in the Dugger Gym during their fourth period for the first Senior Service Day. The event, put on by the LBHS FLOW program in partnership with the group Kids Around the World, had a goal of packing around 75,000 meals during the hour and 45-minute period. Based out of San Clemente, the organization Kids Around the World was established in 1994 by Denny and Erie Johnson. Their initial goal was to refurbish playgrounds and move them to areas in need; then in 2008, they began their OneMeal program, feeding children worldwide. LBHS FLOW partnered with the organization after being inspired by the FLOW book for the senior class, Thirst, by Scott Harrison.

During the event, the seniors were asked to separate into groups of 7-9 and pack lentils, rice, dehydrated vegetables, and vitamin packets into bags which would be sealed, labeled, and placed into boxes. These meals dubbed the “OneMeal,” can be boiled in water and eaten in communities where they are needed. During the event, each team was tasked with packing a minimum of 12 boxes, with many surpassing that amount. A main aspect of this event was the competition that arose between the teams, with each trying to pack more boxes than the other teams in order to win the main prize: an inflatable dinosaur. After each team created three boxes, they were told to go up to the large gong and ring it; their score would then be updated on the scoreboard in the middle of the gym. The air was full of laughter and, of course, a lot of gong-hitting as the teams competed against each other to pack the most boxes. It was a hit with the participating seniors, such as Tate Warner stating that the senior class “…should do this every year.”

Other students, such as Kai Gilles, believed that this event was important as it provided a very unique and enlightening experience for seniors, “It was a lot of fun because we never really got to do a big class event in all of our years at the high school, and I was able to do things for a good cause while having fun with my friends.”

The event finished with over 76,000 meals being packed, surpassing the goal initially posed to the seniors. It provided many of the senior class with a unique experience with their friends who will soon be going their separate ways after graduating. Mr. Brobeck, one of the event's main organizers alongside Mrs. Benson, was overjoyed by the event and stated, “The Senior Class is a special one. They know how to work hard, enjoy each other’s company and have a good time.”

The main sentiment echoed by seniors about the event was how fulfilling it was to be able to give back to those who are less fortunate, with Tate Warner stressing the event’s importance as he believes “It [was] the right thing to do because there are so many people in the world who are struggling and we are so fortunate to be in this amazing place.”

Ultimately, the event was a massive success, surpassing its goals, creating a fun atmosphere for the seniors, and bringing everyone together for one final time.