Mary A. Castillo
Although they knew very little of the reality of HIV, nearly 60
Laguna Beach High School students participated in a design
competition sponsored by the HIV Advisory Committee.
Out of 20 entries, three AIDS awareness posters were chosen to be
displayed throughout the city in commemoration of World AIDS Day on
Two of the selected artists were Brooke Sirianni and Kelly
Nicholas, both 17.
This is the second year the HIV Advisory Committee tapped the
talents of local youth enrolled in Kerry Pellow’s desktop publishing
and computer graphics class.
“I’m so pleased they came back,” she said. “I approached students
with the idea, and they loved doing this.”
Senior Ashley West, 18, who coordinated the project between the
committee and Pellow’s class through her Peer Counseling class, saw
this as an opportunity to get herself and other students involved in
“AIDS is a big part of our community and I wanted to learn more
about it,” she said. “It’s amazing to learn what’s going on around
“I thought it would be interesting,” Brooke said, holding her
image of an adult handing a globe into the hands of a child. “I
didn’t even know about World AIDS Day and I wanted to do something
“It’s a good idea for people to realize that AIDS is still a
problem,” Kelly said. “It hasn’t gone away.”
Fellow student Michael Pirienzo, 16, who also participated in the
program, saw it as a chance to apply the advertising skills he’s
learned in class to educate people.
“I worked on it because it’s a chance to use advertising in a
positive way,” he said. "[My piece] shows people who have AIDS that
people care and people can help.”
Although the students were dealing with such an important and for
some, a scary issue, Kim de St. Paer, co-chair of the committee and
supervisor of anonymous HIV testing and counseling at the Laguna
Beach Community Clinic felt that they approached it with
responsibility and sensitivity.
“The posters are beautiful,” she said. “They were so incredibly
sensitive and It was interesting to see it from their point of view
and what mattered to them.”
The posters will be displayed throughout Downtown along with
several hundred red ribbons tied around trees. The ribbons symbolize
people who have died of AIDS, Committee Member Joseph Amster said.
World AIDS Day will conclude with an interfaith service at 2 p.m.
Sunday at Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive.
The service will be led by Father Bil Aulenbach of St. Mary’s
Episcopal Church and Monsignor Jaime Soto, auxiliary bishop of the
Catholic Diocese of Orange. For more information, please call (949)