16-year-old girl adopted by art teacher paints mural for Thomasville

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THOMASVILLE, N.C. — Justeena Youmans-Royal is taking on her biggest art project yet.

She received a grant through the Thomasville Beautification Commission and Arts Davidson County to design and paint a mural in Thomasville.

“This is a very big honor for me to be able to do this for the city that doesn’t get a lot of attention,” Youmans-Royal said.

When Youmans-Royal moved to Thomasville a few years ago, she was in foster care.

She met Lyza Royal her freshman year.

The art teacher became Youmans-Royal’s mentor and, with permission, took her on family outings.

The two are now mother and daughter.

“You rarely see a 16-year-old get adopted, so just to say that I have been adopted at that age, there’s hope for everyone. I do believe that,” Youmans-Royal said.

The mural is on Trade Street just across from the Thomasville Visitors Center in the old train depot.

“I hope it lasts at least 20, 30 years until the paint starts chipping off and falling off,” Royal said.

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