A colorful mural was dedicated over the weekend at Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, a park that has been reclaimed by the community after two deadly shootings in just two years.
"Everyone in the community bought into it," said Jimmy Figueroa, project manager at Project REACH Libby Lake.
The organization works to increase the number of local kids who kids graduate from high school and go on to college. It has also played a key role in the community's efforts to reclaim the park as a safe place for children.
On March 13, 2013, four teenagers were shot at Libby Lake Park. Edgar Sanchez Rios, 16, and Melanie Virgen, 13 died at the scene.
Two years before that, on May 3, 2011, the bodies of teens Fernando Felix Solano, 16, and Sandra Salgado, 14, were found shot to death near the park.
Today, the Oceanside community continues rebuild after the tragic violence, promoting a better life for
Figueroa said students from all over the community worked to complete the mural.
"When we were out here working on this mural, It felt like we were creating history," Figueroa said.
Some of those cleaning up the wall and painting the mural were on probation or had been suspended from high school, he said.
"We saw leadership take place among these students," he said.
One of the students who played a key role was mural designer Alondra Ochoa.
"You see a girl holding a pencil up in the sky, and pretty much saying that,’Yes. I accomplished,’’ Ochoa said.
The El Camino High School graduate plans to start Palomar College in the fall and hopes to continue her eduction so she can become a missionary.
She said she's never created anything like this mural. She usually just draws for herself.
Figueroa said the community has received grants to not only organize community-wide cleanups but also help pay for projects like the mural.