DANVILLE — Students at San Ramon Valley High School are ready to teach their classmates and the community that saying something is "so gay" is so uncool.

Members of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, which has been on campus for about 10 years, have designated this week Gay Pride Week on campus.

Students will be spreading awareness during the week about accepting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

As co-presidents of the Gay-Straight Alliance, seniors Nick Pittarides, 17, and Sammy Brenner, 18, have been passing out rainbow ribbons on campus, telling classmates about National Day of Silence and preparing for this weekend's photography exhibit.

Photographer Jeff Sheng, a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is bringing his "Fearless" exhibit to San Ramon Valley High School to encourage people to open their eyes and minds to people who are gay.

Pittarides found Sheng's artwork online and saw the exhibit had visited many colleges across the country, including Yale and Columbia universities.

The nearly 100 photos in the exhibit are all of athletes — mostly college students with a few high school students — who are openly gay. By having athletes in the photos, Pittarides said, sends the message that homosexuality is just one part of someone.

"I personally hope the exhibit just shows people who are straight and gay that being gay doesn't have to be the defining factor of who you are — just a component," Pittarides said.

The exhibit will be on display at the school from Friday evening through Sunday. Sheng will pay the school avisit on opening night to talk about his motivation for the project along with some individual stories of the various exhibit subjects.

Sheng said he is looking forward to showing his work at San Ramon Valley High, because he has mostly taken his work to universities.

"I've noticed that high school students who are involved with their Gay-Straight Alliances are highly enthusiastic about my project," Sheng said. "I can imagine that (for) a high school student athlete who may be questioning his or her sexuality, this project would be quite powerful."

In addition to the weekend's exhibit, some of the alliance's members in addition to supporters will observe a Day of Silence on Friday to call attention to the struggle many gay people go through.

Brenner said she plans to remain silent from when she wakes up Friday morning until school releases at 3:10 p.m.

"I think times are really changing, especially at San Ramon (High)," she said. "I think our whole message is it's really important to treat everyone with respect."

Club adviser Jeffrey Davis said he was supportive of the students' desire to bring the "Fearless" exhibit to campus.

Davis said the San Ramon Valley school district has come a long way in providing safe and accepting environments at its schools, but there's always room for improvement.

Some students are still caught using the slang, "That's so gay," to mean something is negative, and other derogatory comments are still heard sporadically, Davis said.

Despite the occasional setback, "the feeling on campus is one of progress," Davis said. "This exhibit is part of that outreach."

If you go

The "Fearless" photography exhibit is free and open to the public, with donations accepted. It will be on display from 6:30 to

9 p.m. Friday , from 10 a.m. to

4 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the cafeteria at San Ramon Valley High School, 140 Love Lane, Danville. Photographer Jeff Sheng will be at the exhibit from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday.