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So as not to forget

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.

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Out of 20 entries, three AIDS awareness posters were chosen to be

displayed throughout the city in commemoration of World AIDS Day on

Sunday.

Two of the selected artists were Brooke Sirianni and Kelly

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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

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this as an opportunity to get herself and other students involved in

the community.

“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

me.”

“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

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positive.”

“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)

494-3542.


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