Laguna Beach police captain graduates from FBI National Academy

Laguna Beach Police Department Capt. David Dereszynski has graduated as a member of the 289th session of the FBI National Academy. He is the eighth officer in the department’s history to successfully complete this prestigious program. Nationally, less than 1% of police officers have the opportunity to attend the program.

Laguna Beach Police Department Capt. David Dereszynski, right, and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. Dereszynski graduated as a member of the 289th session of the FBI National Academy.
(Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department)

Laguna Beach Police Department Capt. David Dereszynski and Police Chief Jeff Calvert. Dereszynski is the eighth officer in the department’s history to graduate from the FBI National Academy.
(Courtesy of Laguna Beach Police Department)

Caroline Cho, Ethan Kwong and Pavlo Ilin, students at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine, won third place in C-SPAN’s 20th annual StudentCam competition.
(Courtesy of C-SPAN)

The City of Irvine dedicated a sycamore grove in the Bommer Canyon Preserve in memory of former City Council member and Planning Commissioner Mary Ann Gaido, who died in Sept….(Courtesy of the City of Irvine)

A photo of Mary Ann Gaido sits in a flower arrangement at a ceremony dedicating a sycamore grove in the Bommer Canyon Preserve to the former Irvine City Council member and planning commissioner.
(Courtesy of the City of Irvine)

Laguna Beach Live is among the recipients of the 2024 FOA Foundation arts grants.
(Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live)



The 289th session of the academy consisted of 197 men and women from 47 states and the District of Columbia. The graduating class included members of law enforcement agencies from 23 countries, four military organizations and five federal civilian organizations.

“Capt. Dereszynski’s successful completion of the FBI National Academy represents a significant milestone in his career and is a testament to his dedication to excellence in law enforcement,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert.

Internationally known for its academic excellence and considered “The World’s Strongest Law Enforcement Leadership Network,” the FBI National Academy offers 10 weeks of advanced communication, leadership and fitness training. Participants must have proven records as professionals within their agencies to attend.

On average, these officers have 21 years of law enforcement experience and usually return to their agencies to serve in executive-level positions.

Irvine and Anaheim students win prizes in C-SPAN’s national video competition

Teens from Irvine and Anaheim won C-SPAN’s 20th annual StudentCam competition.

Caroline Cho, Ethan Kwong and Pavlo Ilin, students at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine, will receive $750 as third-prize winners for the documentary “Saving the American Dream: Effectively Addressing the Housing Crisis.”

Denise Rojas, Noelani Kobayashi and Jenisa Medina, students at Western High School in Anaheim, will receive $250 as honorable-mention prize winners for the documentary “The Ethics of AI.”

C-SPAN, in cooperation with its cable television partners, asked middle and high school students to address the theme “Looking Forward while Considering the Past.” Now in its 20th year, this project-based learning experience gives students the opportunity to explore multiple perspectives on topics that are important to them.

More than 3,200 students participated, and C-SPAN received more than 1,600 entries from 42 states and Washington, D.C. The most popular topics addressed were:

Artificial intelligence, technology and social media (18%)

Abortion, health care and mental health (17%)

Climate, energy & land use, and pollution (13%)

School safety, gun policy and criminal justice (11%)

Economy, school funding and homelessness (8%)

Over two decades, C-SPAN has awarded more than $1.5 million in prizes. Since 2004, more than 63,000 students and 20,000 teachers have participated in the competition.

StudentCam has been a catalyst for inspiring young minds to think critically about issues that are important to them and has empowered them with the tools they need to become informed, civically engaged citizens.

The winning videos can be viewed at The annual StudentCam competition is sponsored by the C-SPAN Education Foundation.

Irvine dedicates sycamore grove in honor of former City Council member

The City of Irvine dedicated a sycamore grove within the Bommer Canyon Preserve in memory of former City Council member and Planning Commissioner Mary Ann Gaido, whose vision and leadership were a driving force behind the city’s purchase of thousands of acres of open space.

Gaido, who died in September after a courageous battle with cancer, played a pivotal role in shaping Irvine. Under her leadership, the city experienced significant accomplishments, including the acquisition of 10,000 acres of open space in Bommer Canyon — the first open space owned by the city.

The purchase from the Irvine Company helped pave the way for the passage of the Irvine Open Space Initiative, which permanently protects thousands of acres of land as natural open spaces.

Gaido dedicated more than 50 years of service to Irvine. She was appointed to the Planning Commission shortly after Irvine’s incorporation in 1971. She was a member of the city’s first Transportation Phasing Task Force from 1974 to 1976 and went on to serve two terms on the City Council, from 1976 to 1984. She returned to the Planning Commission in the mid-1980s, serving a total of 20 years on the commission.

Gaido’s legacy includes the approval of Irvine’s first general plan, a comprehensive, long-range vision of the city’s future development and preservation, and the addition of more than 3,000 affordable housing units. In 2023, she received the prestigious Ralph Kennedy Award in recognition of her tireless advocacy for increasing affordable housing in Orange County.

The sycamore grove, located within the Cattle Camp at Bommer Canyon Preserve, is well established, with fully mature sycamore trees, many of which were planted in the 1960s. The Cattle Camp is a hiking destination, picnic area and picturesque event rental facility for the community, as well as an important source of native habitat for plant and animal species.

– Submitted by the City of Irvine

Laguna Beach nonprofits to get more than $100K in grants

Arts-related nonprofits in Laguna Beach are getting more than $100,000 in grants.

The FOA Foundation awarded 19 organizations $100,400 total in arts grants for 2024. The foundation helps fund the many art-related nonprofits in the Laguna Beach community, emphasizing those dedicated to education and the cultural enrichment of the local community through the arts.

“Laguna Beach owes much of its cultural richness to the tireless efforts of our local arts organizations,” said Kathy Jones, president of the FOA Foundation. “We applaud the dedication and passion of each organization for their invaluable contributions to the cultural fabric of Laguna Beach.”

The 2024 art grants recipients are:

•3340 Recital Series

•Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

•Festival of Arts

•Laguna Beach High School Band Boosters

•Laguna Beach High School Ceramics

•Laguna Beach Schools Performing Arts Boosters

•Laguna Beach Live

•Laguna Art Museum

•Laguna Beach Seniors Inc.

•Laguna Community Concert Band

•Laguna Dance Festival

•Laguna Playhouse

•Laguna Plein Air Painters Association

•LagunaTunes Community Chorus

•LOCA Inc.

•No Square Theatre

•Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund

•Third Street Writers

•Thurston Middle School-Drama

The FOA Foundation, formally the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation, was established in 1989 to preserve and promote the fine arts and all other artistic endeavors in and about Laguna Beach. Since its establishment, the foundation has awarded nearly $3 million in grants to strengthen Laguna Beach’s arts, culture and creative expression.

– Submitted by The FOA Foundation

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