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February 29, 2024

Laguna Beach High School ninth graders illuminate the 1993 fire’s legacy through innovative FLOW Program

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. - Laguna Beach High School on Monday hosted the culmination of an extraordinary project by its ninth-grade students, part of the innovative FLOW program. This year, with a focus on the "fire" component of FLOW, which stands for fire, land, ocean, and water, the students embarked on a journey to explore the profound impact of the 1993 Laguna Beach fire through an engaging and educational approach.

Daily Pilot journalist Andrew Turner shares with students the impacts of the 1993 fire on civic issues

The FLOW program is designed to foster powerful connections between students, academic content, and the

community. By focusing on critical environmental issues particularly relevant to Laguna Beach, the program aims to cultivate a sense of stewardship for the natural environment among students. Through the FLOW program, students across grades 9-12 delve into topics related to fire, land, ocean, and water, integrating these themes into their curriculum, participating in a common read, and engaging with community partners at various events.

This year's ninth graders took a significant step in their educational journey by researching the 1993 Laguna Beach fire. Through first-person interviews with residents who experienced the event firsthand, students gained a unique and personal understanding of the fire's impact on the community. These interviews served as the foundation for a comprehensive presentation, where students shared their insights and reflections on the historical event.

"We are deeply grateful to our district leadership and the Board of Education for fostering an environment where real-world learning experiences are not just encouraged, but are a fundamental part of our curriculum," said LBHS Principal Jason Allemann, Ed.D. "This commitment to innovative education has empowered our teachers and students to engage deeply with their work, blending academic excellence with meaningful, hands-on experiences that prepare our students for a brighter future."

Captain Kuzmic receives award from LBHS teacher Jun Shen

Each student designed their cover page for the presentation, highlighting the most significant impact experienced by their interview subject. The diversity of perspectives was profound – from stories of the items grabbed in the face of evacuation orders to memories of being at school on that fateful day. This project not only enriched the student's understanding of a pivotal event in their community's history but also emphasized the importance of personal narratives in comprehending the broader implications of natural disasters.

This project is not just an academic exercise; it is a bridge connecting students with the community and the environment. It is a step towards fulfilling the vision for all students to experience meaningful engagement with the world around them, fostering a generation of mindful citizens who value and protect the natural surroundings. You can view the anthology of articles online: The 1993 Laguna Beach Fire: A Look Back.

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