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Whatever else they do during their high...

Whatever else they do during their high school years, Ron Kooper’s art students have already left their mark on Redondo Union High School. And it is hard to miss: It stands 17 feet tall and runs for 98 feet.

Today at 2 p.m., the school will dedicate the four murals Kooper and 10 of his students painted on the outside walls of the school last summer.

The murals are “a legacy that will enrich the school and community for many years to come,” Kooper said.

The paintings depict beach scenes suggested by a community advisory committee, faculty and students to create “a positive perspective of life in Redondo Beach,” Kooper said.

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Colorful beach umbrellas, balloons, lifeguards, surfers, roller skaters and dolphins frolicking in a giant wave cover four walls of the school’s building. Designed by Kooper, the murals replaced deteriorating paintings done more than 25 years ago by Jack McClain, a former Redondo Union High School art teacher, and his students.

Kooper’s students--Chris Hart, Marci Talley, Matt Shipman, Tony Yanez, Crystal Timms, Kelsey Moon, Karen Czuleger, Richard Ewell, Jennifer Nichols and Bob DeGross--dubbed themselves “the muralizers.” They worked on the walls nearly every day for a month last summer.

A state grant helped to support the project, as did donations of money and paint from Redondo Beach Supreme Paint Center and Colorama Paints, a division of the Los Angeles Pervo Paint Co.

The state grant required the artists to add positive printed messages to their visual ones, said Judith James, grant coordinator for the South Bay Union High School District.

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The walls remind the school’s faculty and student body to “celebrate life, choose health,” “share your feelings with a friend” and “exercise your choice.” The fourth message should lend encouragement during exams: “Miracles happen every day.”

“We had so much fun over the summer,” said Kelsey Moon, a sophomore. “It wasn’t work.”

Karen Czuleger, also a sophomore, said that when she sees the murals now, she thinks of “the bonds of friendship we made over the summer.”

All the artists stenciled their names on one of the walls, but “it’s not just our creation anymore,” Kelsey Moon said. “It’s the school’s now.”

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Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony takes place on the campus at 631 Vincent Park, off of Vincent Street, between Pacific Coast Highway and El Redondo in Redondo Beach.


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