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Local teen creates mural for Mustard Seed School

Lending a Hand
By: Loryll Nicolaisen, Journal staff writer
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MEADOW VISTA— Hannah Peskin has created her very own mustard seed tree.
Hannah, 14, an eighth-grader at Live Oak Waldorf School, has spent the last couple months piecing together a large mosaic mural for the Mustard Seed School, a free, private school for transient children located in Sacramento.
Hannah created the mural for her eighth-grade project, in which students are responsible for pushing the limits and learning something new, and dedicating at least 30 hours’ work.
“I really like nature. This was just my idea of what a mustard seed tree would look like,” Hannah said of the bright mural, which depicts a colorful tree, the school’s name and a message: “Sowing the Seeds of Hopes and Dreams.” Mustard Seed students and teachers decorated handprints and rectangular tiles bordering the mural.
Hannah tagged Jody Yelland, her friend’s mother who also happens to be an artist, as her project mentor.
“It’s a metaphor for taking something tiny and turning it into something big,” Yelland said of the mustard seed.
Hannah knew of the Mustard Seed School — she participated in a cycling fundraiser for the school in the fall — and decided she’d like to focus her efforts for the eighth-grade project on something for the school.
“I thought, this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” she said. “I really liked the idea of giving something. I thought it’d be a good idea … and I wouldn’t have any use for it.”
Yelland, who has experience creating art for public places and created a mural for a Nicaraguan hospital, said Hannah took the lead on the project.
“She knew from the beginning pretty much how she wanted it to look,” Yelland said.
Hannah is pleasantly surprised by how well her original idea translated into the finished product.
“It was like Christmas all over again when we pulled it out of the kiln,” she said.
Angela Hassell, Mustard Seed School director, said she couldn’t wait to see the mural.
“I think it’s really neat that she chose to do this for us, because it helps us to create a welcoming environment,” Hassell said.
Colleen Moore thinks her daughter did a great job with her eighth-grade project.
“One of the things I was proud of her for is that she followed through,” she said of Hannah. “She not only did it responsibly but she did it always with joy and with a smile on her face.”
Hannah’s also quite pleased with the end result, and her experience as a whole.
“It’s a good feeling that I finished something this big. This is the biggest project I’ve ever done. I’m hoping this brings a little more happiness,” she said. “I was expecting it to be fun … but it was just an eye-opening experience. I think I learned in the process that you’re not only giving, but you’re getting something back.”
If you would like to suggest a volunteer for this feature, e-mail ajournal@goldcountrymedia.com or call (530) 852-0235.
The Journal’s Loryll Nicolaisen can be reached at lorylln@goldcountrymedia.com
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