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Geneva resident Noah Helm (left) poses with the plaque he received from Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler in recognition of the mural Helm produced this summer and gave to Mooseheart. Helm received the plaque during Mooseheart’s Back to School Bash celebrations.
Posing with the mural created and given to Mooseheart by Geneva’s Noah Helm are, from left: Scott Helm, Mary Beirne, Noah Helm, Keegan Kane and Trish Helm.
The mural created and given to Mooseheart by Geneva resident Noah Helm. The images on the left half are taken from a 1915 photograph and represent the campus’ past. The images on the right half show the current school entrance and represent the present and future.
MOOSEHEART, IL, August 30 – Normally, no one gets to just hang out in Mooseheart's school building. The days are too packed and the pace of the day too busy to spend time idle in a hallway.
But in the case of the new mural which adorns the wall just inside the school’s entrance - a very happy exception will be made.
The mural is the creation of 15-year-old Geneva resident Noah Helm. The freshman at Benet Academy in Lisle, IL was recognized for his contribution to the school and given a recognition plaque during the campus' Tuesday (Aug. 27) "Back to School Bash."
"To think it came from a kid who said 'I want to investigate what Mooseheart is all about' and then came up with a picture to paint is great," Mooseheart Superintendent of Education Jeff Szymczak said. "We've already used it. We had the seniors take their picture in front of it. We're going to use it for a photo with the Senior Ring Ceremony. It's a nice backdrop and it's kind of neat."
Helm is 15-years-old and currently a Life Scout in Troop 37 in Geneva. While in middle school, Helm wrote a school report on the history of Mooseheart. With his Eagle Scout Project in the planning stages, Mooseheart again became the focus. Noah Helm said the mural was originally his mom Trish's idea - though the implementation of that idea was largely his.
"Art is one of my passions," Helm said. "I presented the idea to my middle school science teacher."
That science teacher - Rodney Allen - has deep ties to Mooseheart as he is the grandson of the campus' first Executive Director, Rodney Brandon. The idea began to take shape from there.
The mural is 8 feet square and depicts two minimalist scenes underneath a cloud-filled blue sky. On the left portion is an early-model truck with "1913" printed on its side parked beside a square-shaped building. Helm said this idea came from a 1915 photograph he saw from Mooseheart's Centennial book, which covers the history of the campus from its 1913 founding to its centennial, which was celebrated on July 27, 2013. The right portion of the mural is a representation of the current entrance to the campus.
"The left side represents 'before' - way back to when Mooseheart started," Helm said. "The right side represents what it has become and what it will be."
That sense of history as well as attention to the current day struck Szymczak as he looked at the mural as well.
"Obviously he put a lot of thought and effort and energy to put into that," Szymczak said. "I'm really proud of him that he did it without much prompting."
Between the school report and the mural project, Helm had plenty of time to consider what he thinks of Mooseheart.
"I think it is a great place with a great mission and I thought that it would be a great place to do this," Helm said. "It's a really amazing charitable organization with what is done here."
Helm said the project took over many weeks to complete, with work shifts being 5-7 hours a day. Sometimes he worked on the mural alone. At other times, he had help from friends and family.
While he spent considerable time working on the mural and helped deliver it to Mooseheart on Aug. 9, Tuesday marked the first time he saw the construction mounted in the entry foyer to the school building. He smiled when asked how he felt it looked.
"It's amazing," Helm said. "I'm really proud that I was able to do this. It was worth all the time that I spent on this and it's very rewarding. I'm very happy with how it turned out."
Helm said he will discuss the project with his Eagle Board of Review, which has yet to take place.