Nevada County GREAT kids give back |

Nevada County GREAT kids give back

A mural at Seven Hills School was defaced over the summer, but repainted by volunteers from the GREAT Summer Youth Academy. Sierra Payne, left, and Hallie Trembley work on painting over some graffiti.
Submitted photo | The Union

Nevada County kids who attended this year’s GREAT Summer Youth Academy got the chance to give back to the community a couple of weeks ago after vandals defaced a mural at Seven Hills Middle School.

For at least the last few years, sessions of the summer program put on by the Grass Valley Police Department and the Safe Schools Healthy Students program have been held in classrooms at Seven Hills, said Grass Valley Police Officer Zack LaFerriere.

LaFerriere had gone to the school on July 25 to have the carpets cleaned, and saw the damage done, with tagging and phallic symbols defacing the recently painted mural.

The cinder-block wall on the back side of the blacktop had a mural that had been getting old and worn, said Seven Hills Principal David Figuly.

Last year, Figuly said, the student council held a design contest and it was repainted at the end of the school year.

“Apparently, over a weekend somebody broke in (to where construction materials were being stored) and stole marking paint,” he said.

When LaFerriere saw the tagging, he contacted the district office and Figuly, then decided to round up some of the summer academy participants to help the school out.

“Zack said they would like to help out as a way of saying thank you,” Figuly said. “They did it on their own time, I got the paint.”

Within the hour, LaFerriere had rounded up seven kids to paint over the offensive graffiti, and also clean up some hand rails and a portion of the blacktop that had been tagged as well.

“It was just so nice,” Figuly said.

One of the kids, Echo Ridge Christian seventh-grader Miguel Sosa, said he was more than happy to help out.

For one, he said, it was fun to hang out and paint with his former academy mates.

This was the third year he had attended the GREAT program, Sosa said, adding that he really enjoyed the experience.

“It’s awesome — it’s really awesome,” he said.

Seven Hills sixth-grader Hallie Trembley said she knows the student who designed the mural last year.

“He put a lot of effort into it,” she said, “I felt really bad — I imagined if that were me, so I went over and helped.”

All of the academy kids “were just really enthusiastic,” LaFerriere said. “It gave them an opportunity to hang out together and to make a difference to the community, which is what the program encourages. It was nice to see everybody come together and make a positive difference.”

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4229.

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