Megan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press
Students walking into the commons area of Skyridge High School are welcomed by a giant falcon carrying the message “You Belong Here.” The art installation is a new addition from Jane Walker, a junior at Skyridge and the Student Council Artisan. She wanted to create something eye-catching to share a message of inclusion as soon as people entered the school.
“I wanted it to be that the second you walk into the school, you see this symbol of school spirit and relay the message of ‘you belong here.’ It’s one of the motos our school has been pushing for a while, and we really do want everyone to feel like they belong here,” said Walker.
The 15-foot by 12-foot painted plywood falcon has caught people’s attention. Along with the praise of her own classmates and administration, the 3D art caught the attention of Alpine School District (ASD) Superintendent Shane Farnsworth when he visited Skyridge on the first day of school. The District then featured Walker in an Excellence Quest video that went out to parents throughout ASD.
“Our theme this year is Excellence Quest, striving to be and do our best. We think this is a great example of excellent art and a cultural message that says everyone has a place here at Skyridge,” Farnsworth said in the video.
Walker had the idea for the hanging falcon when she applied to be on Skyridge’s student council last April.
“As a student council, one of our biggest jobs is to make everyone feel safe and included and to convey the message that you really do belong here. I thought a good way to showcase that would be our mascot holding the message of ‘you belong here.’ It goes hand in hand with what we want the students to feel,” Walker said.
Walker took her idea to the principal for approval at the end of July, then worked to have the 3D art ready to hang for Back-to-School Night in August. It took about 17 hours to build the wooden falcon out of lightweight plywood with the help of her father, Jeremy Walker.
“My dad helped a ton with the cutting and building. It was a lot of work. Once we were done building, I went to town painting it and had a lot of fun,” Walker said.
Since school started, Walker has kept up with her role as school artisan by making large 3D letters as decor for the Homecoming activities. She also has a large spider in the works to decorate the commons for Halloween.
The falcon was meant as a back-to-school decoration, but with the positive reaction it’s received, it doesn’t look like it will be coming down anytime soon.
“Not a lot of people knew I was making it until I brought it. Going to Back-to-School Night and seeing the reaction as people came in and seeing people taking pictures with it was really fun,” Walker said. “It’s cool to see my contribution to the community and the positive feedback I’ve gotten. It’s cool to see what my time and efforts can do.”