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Frederick student inspires with her artwork, determination

FREDERICK – A blossoming artist is thriving during her first year at St. John Regional Catholic School (SJRCS) in Frederick.

Through her independence and determination, second-grader Sara Hinesley adapts to any challenge – despite not having hands.

“She’s able to do everything with such ease,” said Judy Ballenger, Sara’s art teacher at SJRCS. “It’s such a joy to see how she works.”

Sara’s spirit caught the eye of Catholic Review visual journalist Kevin Parks in December, when he was gathering material at SJRCS for an article on its recent National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence award.

Sara and classmate Isabella Zamora, shown in the accompanying photo, are pictured on the cover of the February 2018 issue of the Review. It includes a 14-page section themed to Catholic Schools Week, which will be celebrated Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.

At SJRCS and at home, Sara requires no special accommodations and uses no prosthetics. She perseveres through any obstacles until she is successful. Her artistic ability in particular stands out to Ballenger, who said that Sara has “an eye for art.”

“Nothing has stopped this kid – she does everything,” Ballenger said, adding that Sara participates in creating art with multiple types of media, just like her classmates.

Her art teacher is not the only one to notice her talent – Sara’s work was chosen for the 2017 Frederick County Art Show at the Delaplaine Arts Center, in the county seat.

A bright and generous young girl, Sara wants to use her talent for good. She has floated the idea of creating an online store, so that she can sell her artwork and donate any moneys generated to help children in need.

In addition to her art hobby, Sara is active with soccer and loves swimming.

Email Emily Rosenthal at erosenthal@CatholicReview.org