Leuzinger’s March for Cleaner Beaches
By Jasmin Gonzalez of Leuzinger High School’s Heal the Bay Club
This club knows how to celebrate St. Patty’s Day! By marching in a parade with a message of hope and empowerment, they inspired many ocean stewards, while having a ton of fun themselves.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Leuzinger’s Heal the Bay Club set out to participate in the annual parade at Hermosa Beach.
Acting as Heal the Bay and Surfrider Ambassadors, we were glad to promote positive messages of volunteerism and helping the environment, all while marching through Hermosa. It was an incredible experience for us all, not only because it was the first time any of us had been in a parade, but because we were doing our best to raise awareness for cleaner beaches.
Upon our arrival, we were amazed by how many people were already there and helping set up, not to mention how green everything was, from clothing to balloons to signs. That sight alone was enough to get us excited as we awaited at the start of the parade. We met Heal the Bay’s senior aquarist, Jose Bacallao, who gave us awesome Heal the Bay shirts to wear in the parade, and then entrusted us to pass out Heal the Bay stickers. It wasn’t long until we completed the given task, while also receiving various items other groups were giving out, like sunglasses, shirts, and frisbees.
At that point, however, the parade had yet to start, so my fellow club mates and I formally introduced ourselves to the other volunteers who would be marching with us. As we continued waiting for the start of the parade, a couple of our club members decided to have a dance-off with some of the volunteers, leading to performances that the rest of us watched amusedly.
Finally, the parade started and we began marching, signs in hand. The crowded sidewalks held many onlookers who cheered as we passed them, smiling and calling out to keep our beaches clean. The reactions we received from everyone we passed were incredible; people responded so positively to us as we marched that we honestly felt that our message was being received. All too soon, we reached the end of the parade, and after dispersing from the other volunteers, we were still overwhelmed by what we had just done.
Our participation in the parade was a remarkable experience; we were able to spread awareness over environmental issues and gain such a positive reaction in return. The feeling was amazing, and by the end of the day we all just felt grateful for the opportunity to march and speak out about such a real issue impacting our beaches.