VENICE — Venice High School students are teaming up on a project to bring awareness to water sustainability to the region.

Students in three classes — Digital Design 2 Honors, Environmental Science AP and Applied Engineering Technology — gave a presentation Jan. 24 and then heard from area experts and officials on water pollution.

The Digital Design students are working on a poster contest, with the winning work to be named on Earth Day.

Digital Design teacher Madeleine Zubyk said the focus was to look at the solutions of water sustainability on individual level along with a community level. The students making the posters were initially emphasizing the troubles with water pollution, she said.

“We don’t want to look at the problem anymore,” she said. “We want to work on the solution.”

Senior Whitney Williams, a Digital Design student, is chief executive officer of Indian Ink, which is labeled as “a student-centered business focused on designing high quality posters and banners for school and community related needs.”

She’s added her own poster to the contest.

Williams said it’s always interesting when students work together on projects.

“There’s so many different students that there’s a lot more options. You don’t have one person making one thing; there’s a bunch of ideas,” Williams said.

Venice Mayor Ron Feinsod and Transition Venice founder Abby Gage spoke to the teenagers about what they can do about water use and protection.

Gage said “ecopreneurs” are needed now to help the environment and to fight water pollution, noting Venice students — and residents — can sometimes experience evidence of pollution.

“Red tide hits you right in the face,” she said, noting fertilizer runoff is believed to contribute to increasing the blooms.

Feinsod praised the students for their work and asked them to continue to do their part, emphasizing reusable products over recycling products — which he noted are starting to pile up overseas as the economics of recycling flattens.

“We have to get back on track,” he said.

Feinsod praised the posters, joking about one that had an image of him holding a stainless-steel water bottle. He noted he has used the same water bottle for years — criticizing single-use plastic bottles as unnecessary and bad for the environment.

With single-use bottles on the minds of students, Student Government members discussed how it’s working to stem the tide of plastic waste — two new water fountains at the school will include filling stations for bottles.

Student Government President Jillian Alexander spoke about the cost — a total of $1,400 — and how fundraising has been going for the project.

Other students speaking included Baris Barut, Mya Gore, Melana Ivanenko, Ella Marlow, Madison Monyhan, Kip Oulton, Caden Peters and Alexis Sander.

Along with this project, the Digital Design students help out with contributing posters to Venice athletic teams.

Williams said it gives her a way to contribute in her own way.

“I’m very creative and I like to express myself with my outfits, my hair, my everything — so it ties in,” she said. “You get to be a part of the design of the logos for the school and add your own personality.”

She enjoys the blank slate.

“It’s fun to start with nothing and go into it,” she said.

The Digital Design students and Indian Ink get a taste of working with clients and creative collaborations.

“It gives you an idea of the real business world. You have to meet and discuss things,” Williams said.

Zubyk said the students learn photography and computer programs and often are able to earn certifications in PhotoShop, InDesign and other Adobe programs.

Indian Ink has worked with local churches, organizations along with the Venice Police and Venice Fire departments.

“We’re really involved in the community,” Zubyk said.


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