PARADISE — Screams of joy reverberated through the school parking lot Tuesday as students from Children’s Community Charter School proudly watched the unveiling of a mosaic hawk medallion constructed on the side of one of the school buildings.
About 65 students helped build the hawk, which is the school mascot, working side by side with representatives of the Rainforest Art Project in Chico, which helped the students to make the mosaic. The Paradise Rotary Club funded the project.
“We are here to gather to unveil a fabulous project,” said Children’s Community Charter School Principal Michelle Farrer after the unveiling. “We are so thankful as a school. We loved working with the Rainforest people, and we love working with the school and the community.”
The Rainforest Art Project provided materials.
“You guys were wonderful and listened very well,” Leanna Lunsford, regional director of the Rainforest Art Project, said to the students.
The idea for the piece started about a year ago, and took three months to complete, with the kids working with the Rainforest Art Project every day on the mosaic. About 65 fourth through eighth grade students worked on the mosaic.
Fifth grader Jacob Gremillion was one of the students who worked on the piece.
“It was interesting,” Gremillion said. “We laid down the glass with glue and used a special cement glue. It was very specific work. Every piece had to fit perfectly.”
Gremillion is interested in art. “I love to draw,” he said.
Another fifth grader, Georgia Hanawalt, also helped with the mosaic.
“It’s definitely very good,” Hanawalt said. “It’s surprising how good.”
Sixth grader Riley Wilson was yet another student who helped craft the mosaic.
“It’s awesome,” Wilson said. “It was a really fun project. We worked on it every day. I love doing art.”
Dan Evers, founder and chief executive officer of the Rainforest Art Project, enjoyed working on the project with the students.
“These kids had to be versatile, adaptive and creative,” Evers said.
Timothy Elloway, Paradise Rotary Club president, was very pleased with the mosaic and the efforts put forth by the Rotary members.
“The thing I expressed in recent memory when the Paradise sign went up is that we are healing and rising from the ashes,” Elloway said. “We are seeing our community take root again, and that’s encouraging.”
Elloway saw the mosaic specs although he hasn’t yet seen the finished product. “I saw it during the process,” he said. “It’s simply stunning.”
The funds for the mosaic piece were provided through a special tax-free foundation which was donated to by Rotary clubs all over the state and the world, such as from Germany, Reno, the Bay Area and other clubs in Northern California to help with community projects during the aftermath of the Camp Fire.
“We want to see Paradise rise again,” said Elloway. “This is a unified effort by Rotarians to help us recover as a town.”