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January 10, 2022

Laguna Beach High School Presents College Unplugged

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. - On Wednesday, January 5, 2022, The Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) College and Career Center presented College Unplugged, where recent LBHS Alumni sat as panelists for an interactive discussion with current LBHS juniors and seniors. The College and Career Center Guidance Team, made up of Lynn Gregory, College and Career Specialist, and Angela Shipp, Scholarship and Financial Aid Specialist, hand-selected previous students from various colleges and backgrounds, who eloquently spoke about their collegiate journeys to the audience in a Q&A format.

The diverse panel consisted of students who currently attend state schools, UCs, out-of-state and abroad universities, and a community college transfer. Having a wide range of college pathways represented truly showed the students in the audience that you can thrive in a variety of different ways. The panelists in attendance included:

  • Jordan Burton, 2017 LBHS graduate, Irvine Valley College, Sonoma State University
  • Luca Elghanayan, 2020 LBHS graduate, UC Berkeley
  • Cat Jacobs, 2018 LBHS graduate, University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • Mia Pitz, 2019 LBHS graduate, University College Dublin
  • Ryan Robinson, 2019 LBHS graduate, UC Irvine
  • Ryan Smithers, 2019 LBHS graduate, Yale University
  • Nathan Solomon, 2020 LBHS graduate, Tufts University

Questions from the audience ranged from “How did you transition living out of state?” and “How did you choose your college?” to “What traps did you find yourself falling into as a first-year student?” and “What advice would you give yourself before starting college?” Each panelist gave excellent advice, examples, and real-life experiences of their individual journeys. Some of the best advice given was although you would be able to fit in at a handful of colleges and there likely isn’t only one college for you, that you will create your own community wherever you go and love where you end up.

“It was an honor to come back to LBHS and share my college experience and any wisdom I have for the current juniors and seniors,” Jordan Burton, Sonoma State transfer from IVC, exclaimed. “Being a transfer student, I had a slightly different college path than my panelists, but I am a huge advocate for the community colleges/transfer process. I’m glad I was able to give some advice and show that community college is just another stepping stone in the college experience. Thank you for having me back, LBHS!”

Lynn Gregory happily stated, “College Unplugged is one of my favorite assemblies of the year. I feel like a proud parent welcoming home their student from college. I continue to be in awe of the wisdom and sage advice our alumni have to offer our current student body. Candid discussions about making friends, managing the rigor of academics, overcoming homesickness, and how to balance social life are some of my favorite topics. Life is about navigating the twists and turns along the journey; our alumni have succeeded. Our goal of the event is to show our students that each student's path looks different, and that is where their self-discovery begins and their education continues."

Angela Shipp shared, “It is always a treat to welcome back our LBHS Alumni panel for College Unplugged. Each panel member brings their own unique experience, wisdom, and insight about their college experience. And, College Unplugged provides the opportunity and space for candid discussion between our alumni and current students who are preparing to embark on their own college experience. This year's panel was diverse, genuine, and humble, and I believe that everyone in attendance walked away with something valuable.”

LBHS Alumni smiling after participating in College Unplugged

Panelists (from left to right)
Top row: Ryan Smithers, Cat Jacobs, Jordan Burton, Nathan Solomon, Luca Elghanayan
Bottom row: Mia Pitz, Ryan Robinson

Photos from the event can be found in our LBUSD Pixieset.