MARINA DEL REY ( — The movie “Jaws” seemed to forever change the perception of sharks as human-eating killers.

Today, many still fear getting into the ocean, but students at Marina del Rey Middle School are hoping to change that.

“My first impression was, ‘You know, they’re scary and stuff,’ but when I got to this school, they told us, ‘They don’t really do anything to you. They’re just swimming around and they do their job in the ocean,’ ” said Galen Tunnicliffe, a student.

As part of his Marine Science Academy program, Tunnicliffe and his classmates are creating a mural with the help of some ocean experts from Shark Allies and Beautify Earth.

“This is what we would like to inspire. [It] is a combination of conservation with education and art,” Stefanie Brendl of Shark Allies said. “They need to know that sharks are part of the ecosystem and how they fit into the environment.”

Shark Allies shot video of the kids, who spent a weekend on the work of art.

“With sharks, it’s important that we change the incorrect image that is out there that persists in the public,” Brendl said.

“It’s about protecting the ocean and learning how we can protect it, learning how we can stop whatever we’re doing to hurt it,” Tunnicliffe said.

Brendl and her team hope to one day have murals in schools across the country to raise awareness about protecting the oceans and sea life.


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