By  on February 14, 2008

SAN DIEGO — High school students don't need any particular reason to get pumped up on a Friday night. But combine hundreds of them from four schools based here, throw in the latest surf-inspired looks from Hurley's summer collection and you've got a fashion show-cum-pep rally to bring the house down.

Last month, Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Hurley was the host of the fifth run of its signature "Walk the Walk" competition at the House of Blues. The high schools — La Jolla, Lincoln, Point Loma and La Costa Canyon — vied to give the most original interpretation of the Hurley brand. The award was a $5,000 donation to the winning school's art and music program.

"Walk the Walk" isn't a traditional school fund-raiser. It upturns the conventional fashion show format by giving students full creative control. Pulling from Hurley's young contemporary, men's and swim lines, the schools had the task of presenting a 5-minute runway show. With the guidance of Hurley's staff, each school designated committees or project managers to oversee show production, styling, hair and makeup, as well as choreography, music selection and promotion.

"We're continually blown away by the creativity of the students involved," said Lyndsey Roach, vice president of marketing for the young contemporary division at Hurley, which is owned by Nike Inc. "Each show seems to build on the one before it, and the students raise the bar for themselves."

The students took to their duties with zest. The strong scent of Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil wafted in the air as a half-dozen boys showed off their identically tanned and toned abs in swimsuit briefs to giggling girls. The Facebook generation also snapped numerous photos of each other on their digital cameras.

Onstage, students took different approaches for showing school spirit. Point Loma High simulated a nightclub on the runway, illuminating glowstick-waving models with a black light. La Jolla High opted to focus on individuality; its models were dressed as nerds, jocks, rockers and environmentalists, and carried signs declaring their roles lest the audience have any doubt. La Costa Canyon High's team amplified the energy even more by playing Michael Jackson's Eighties hit "Thriller" and emerging through a runway entrance decorated with the phrase: "Coming Alive."But Lincoln High had the crowd buzzing loudest. The first to strut down the runway was the school's mascot, an electric guitar-strumming bee, who tripped on the DJ's wires coming offstage but bounced back up chanting the school's name. With that cue, Lincoln's models sashayed and danced to Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle," Joe Budden's "Pump It Up" and a remix of one of DJ Paul Oakenfold's dance anthems.

Sure enough, the judges — including Hurley founder Bob Hurley, pro surfer Rob Machado and Hurley young contemporary designer Jenna Wilson — awarded Lincoln the grand prize.

The win topped off an experience that started in November and involved an interview with Hurley during the application process. "We all got so close," said Phylicia Willis, who served as one of Lincoln's two project managers.

For others, it let them do what teenagers like best. "I get to be the center of attention and have lights going everywhere!" said Lincoln model Fernanda Lezama.

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