As reported recently by Banner staff writer Larry Bowers on the front page of our newspaper, senior class representatives Pierson Bunch and Aleks Migovich want to restore the once proud and endearing act by graduating senior classes of leaving their alma mater a gift — one that will be meaningful to the school and its future student bodies while serving as a legacy for the presenting senior class.
As explained in a recent gathering of the Cleveland Board of Education, the creative-minded seniors want to design, develop and fund an aluminum statue of the school’s symbol, “The Cleveland Raider.” Proposed to be 6-feet tall on a 3-foot base, the statue would depict a cavalryman with sword raised in the air on a rearing stallion.
Proposed location for the statue is in the middle of the wide walkway at the front or main entrance to the east wing of the high school.
The detailed planning is already well under way. Cleveland High School art student Fernando Ramirez has sketched a drawing of the statue which was presented to board members for their consideration. Students have approached Chattanooga artist Jack Denton about designing the sculpture whose cost is projected to be $5,000 to $6,000. The statue would have a shiny or dull aluminum surface.
Before committing to a final design, Denton will mold a replica of the figure for consideration of last-minute changes.
These students are on a mission as evidenced by their further plans.
Discussions are under way on how the senior class will fund the impressive project. Potential donors are being contacted and several fundraisers are being scheduled. One in-school initiative will be a promotional event in which donors will have their names inscribed on bricks that will form the statue’s foundation.
Their plans in place, timing will become a key for the Cleveland High School seniors. The group has only a few months to complete a multiphased task that Bunch and Migovich report sometimes can take as long as four years. The senior class wants to officially unveil the statue, and present it to the school, during graduation in May.
It is an aggressive proposal, yet it is one we find appealing on several fronts.
One, it seeks to rekindle a longtime tradition among senior classes that ended with the graduates of 2004; such an idea of gifting their alma mater is a beautiful way for graduating seniors to say “thank you” to their school for their educational experience, and an affectionate symbol for being remembered.
Two, it is a hands-on opportunity for innovative young minds to introduce themselves to the outside world in preparation for their college years which will offer an altogether new life and adventure from any they have previously known.
Three, it is a thoughtful interaction between students and the city school board members. The positive response to the presentation by board members Dawn Robinson, Richard Shaw and Steve Morgan, and the unanimous vote of support by the full board, were indeed heartwarming moments for these students and their senior classmates.
Four, such proactive actions by high school seniors reflect wonderfully on the character, leadership, care and patience of their mentors — the school’s teachers, administrators and staff.
We congratulate the members of Cleveland High School’s Class of 2011 for their engaging commitment.
We wish them well in their endeavor.