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LBHS remembers beloved student, Paul Mauntel

Grace Sauers, Editor-in-Chief/Production Manager

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Paul Mauntel, a former LBHS student known for his remarkable positivity, tragically passed on Jan. 11 after experiencing a seizure, only five-and-a-half years after his graduation from Laguna Beach High School in 2012. Paul recently earned an Advanced Certificate from the Saddleback Culinary Arts Program. Paul also graduated from a San Juan Capistrano based Adult Transition Program that supports students with special needs as they transition from high school to adult life. Among Paul’s greatest passions was putting his culinary training to work at the Wind and Sea Restaurant in Dana Point, where he was employed full time alongside his younger brother, Nick Mauntel. Paul is most fondly remembered by the teachers at LBHS for the way which he spread happiness and love; whenever anyone asked, “Paul, how’s your day?” answer was always an enthusiastic “fantastic!” His life and death should be a reminder to all of us, that despite our individual challenges and stresses, we should always be thankful and remember that life is, indeed, “fantastic.”


In honor of Paul, his family and friends have set up a scholarship in his name: “The Paul Mauntel FANTASTIC Scholarship” for students with disabilities who are pursuing a certificate or degree at Saddleback College.

If you would like to donate, please make checks payable to “Saddleback College Foundation” and mail to Saddleback College. Saddleback College Foundation Tax ID No. 33-0390547.


“My first memory of Paul was when I had him as a freshman.  He was so excited for me to meet his little brother, who would be coming the next year. The first home football game, Paul took me over to the bleachers to meet his younger brother, Nick. They were inseparable, those two, taking care of each other, but also they were like the odd couple, always arguing back and forth. One of them had always lost their phone or their backpack. They were a funny pair. Everyone who knew Paul says that he was the kindest gentleman they had ever met. He was such a part of our school culture because he had guile, which I know is a funny thing to say about a high school student, but there was not anything unkind or impersonal with him. Everything with Paul was an acceptance and love and connection with those around him. My greatest hope is for Paul to be remembered as an example of kindness. I never heard him say one unkind thing about anyone, ever. Even when he was frustrated with his brother because he had lost his backpack again, it was always, “Oh, Nick!” but it was never in anger.  I learned so much from Paul- he was my favorite person to run into. He was happy to see you. He was so bright and loved by everyone, but everyone would always laugh because Paul would come to school with two left shoes on, or he would forget his jacket – he never “had it all together.” I think he left an impact on the high school with genuine kindness, and I truly have never met anyone like him.” – Teacher Mindy Hawkins


“Paul’s kindness was unparalleled among LBHS students. His light brightened the lives of all those around him. He was loving, and he and his brother spread happiness and positivity not often found on a high school campus. He was always happy, positive, and loving. The Mauntel brothers are precious.” – Teacher Kerry Pellow


“Paul’s attitude was infectious. He smiled, he was friendly, and you couldn’t help but just be drawn into that. You couldn’t help but see the world from Paul’s eye. Paul and his brother tried so hard and did their absolute best at all times. I think that especially when you see students who have so much going for them and don’t take advantage of all of the things they were born with, when you see someone who tries so hard to succeed despite difficulties, it makes you step back and evaluate your own life and your own willingness or unwillingness to take advantage of the strengths which you are given.” – Teacher Kristin Cowles


“Although I never had Paul in my class, every time I encountered him in the hallway, it would brighten my day. Whether it was a short joke or just a smile, Paul had a way of lighting up your day. The best thing about Paul was that you always knew that his smile came from a place of genuine goodness and happiness.” – Teacher Jonathan Todd

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LBHS remembers beloved student, Paul Mauntel