Students, district officials and members of the gathered Thursday morning at for the dedication of a new mural depicting a drug-free life in the Beach Cities.
The mural, which was donated by the police department, was a culmination of this year's Red Ribbon Week project. The school wanted to do "something different from the norm," said Principal Erin Simon.
Under the supervision of art teacher Flin Kirts and muralist Clinton Bopp, the students created posters depicting what it means to be "drug free." Bopp then combined the posters to create the mural's design and served as the art director for the final painting.
"You really put your hearts into it, and I'm really proud of you," Kirts told the students during the dedication.
Bopp expressed a similar sentiment, telling the attendees, "This is your project." He later told Redondo Beach Patch that "it was a really amazing project," partially because he "got to work with these kids on so many levels."
"This mural will be here for years," said Frank DeSena, the assistant superintendent in charge of student services in . DeSena also noted that though there are Redondo Union High School students on the Drug and Alcohol Community Task Force, there are no students from Shores, and he encouraged students at the dedication to volunteer for the task force.
Depicting beach scenes, a "tree of life" and a soccer player, among others, with a red ribbon winding its way across, the mural took about three weeks to complete, said senior Chloe Montijo.
It also serves as a source of pride for some of the students who worked on it.
"Every time I look at the mural, I'm just all, 'I did that,'" said senior Cemone Shaw.
Senior Franky Esparza said working on the mural was "really relaxing."
"When I start painting, it feels like everything just lifts off my chest," he said. "I don't think I could ever get mad [when I'm painting]."
The students "pretty much" painted the artwork themselves, said Bopp, adding, "It was really great to empower them."
"It worked out well," she said. "It was actually a pleasure to do … I'm very proud of them."