Senior representatives Pierson Bunch and Aleks Migovich attended a recent Board of Education meeting at the Central Office to provide specifics on the proposed project.
Bunch said it used to be a tradition for CHS’ senior class to leave behind such a legacy when it graduated. He said that has been curtailed in recent years, and this year’s group of seniors wants to bring it back.
Bunch and Migovich had attended the school board’s site committee meeting recently and were directed to come to the board meeting to discuss their plans. That took place this week.
The two students said there have been a number of projects (by seniors) in the past, such as a flag pole, memorial and flower gardens and the school sign which was located on Raider Drive. That sign was taken down with the construction of the new science wing, but plans are under way (by the school board) to erect a new sign.
The 2012 seniors want to commission a statue of the school’s symbol, “The Cleveland Raider,” in the middle of the walkway at the front or main entrance to the east wing of the school. The statue will be of a cavalryman on a rearing stallion, with his sword raised in the air.
The statue will have a 3-foot base and will tower about 6 feet above that.
The two seniors emphasized that the centrally located statue would still allow plenty of space on both sides as students, faculty members and visitors enter the building.
“The 2004 senior class was the last to present a gift to the school,” related the two seniors.
The students have talked with Chattanooga artist Jack Denton about doing the sculpture, which would likely cost between $5,000 and $6,000. It would be made of aluminum with either a shiny or dull surface. Denton will mold a replica of the statue for any last-minute changes to consider.
A sketch of the proposed statue has been created by Cleveland High art student Fernando Ramirez.
Bunch said class members have talked with some potential donors, and will be scheduling a number of fundraisers. An in-school fundraiser is scheduled next week, and the seniors are planning a brick-promotional event. Bricks with donors’ names would be included in the foundation for the statue.
Bunch and Migovich said the senior class is hoping the project can be finished by this spring, with the statue to be unveiled at graduation in May.
“We’re trying to do something that typically takes four years,” Bunch said. “We’re trying to do it in a half year.”
“We feel Cleveland High School has lost a lot of tradition (with the curtailment of the senior project),” and we’re hoping to get it back,” said Bunch.
School board member Dawn Robinson voiced her support of the senior project. “I make a motion we approve this, and I’d like them to bring back the final etching of the statue,” she said. Board member Richard Shaw seconded Robinson’s motion.
Steve Morgan, another board member, praised the presentation by the two seniors. “It was very professional,” he said.
Asked what they would do if they were to raise more money than is needed for the statue, Bunch said the seniors have considered that possibility. “We’ve considered placing some benches (near the statue), lighting and possibly the high school crest on the base,” he said.
“We just want this to be a continued tradition (at Cleveland High School),” Bunch said.