Corona del Mar High walks away with heads held high

Corona del Mar High School students didn't walk home from Hurley's Walk the Walk championship empty-handed.

CdM won the men's Head-to-Toe Design Challenge at the fifth annual "Project Runway"-esque fashion show on the beach Thursday during the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.

"I'm really proud of my team," said soon-to-be senior Krissy Zahabi, 16, the show's co-producer and co-director. "They did such a good job."

The school, which won Walk the Walk last year, competed in the national competition against four other schools that made it to the finals. Grossmont High School from El Cajon won the top prize, $25,000.

The students put on a five-minute runway show and performance in front of thousands of teenagers. The show was hosted by actors Vanessa Hudgens ("High School Musical") and Tristan Wilds ("The Wire"). Each performance was judged on the performance's overall vibe, style and design and music by supermodel Marisa Miller, "90210" actress Gillian Zinser, pro surfers Rob Machado and Laura Enever, and Bob Hurley.

CdM took the stage first with graffiti artists, giant colorful peace signs, skateboarders and a musical mash-up that included Kanye West's "Jesus Walks," Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'," a song from the movie "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory," and a portion Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

The performance's theme of street artists and graffiti was meant to urge people to be unique and not always fall in line with the status quo, but follow their own path, Krissy said.

"It's a way of them taking back the public space," she said, "and expressing their voice."

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