Megan Wallgren | Lehi Free Press
At Viewpoint Middle School, a student-created monument to achievement and belonging was unveiled on Jan. 5. Rocky the Raptor, a 5-foot-tall bronze statue designed and sculpted by students, stands in the school’s main hallway.
The mascot statue was designed and sculpted by Viewpoint students and put in bronze by Metal Arts Foundry of Lehi. At the unveiling ceremony, Viewpoint art teacher Jerime Hooley thanked the administration for letting his class create the monument.
“Junior high kids built a monument. That doesn’t happen every day,” said Hooley.
After the green cloth covering the statue was removed, the students milled around it, excited to see their work and touch the finished bronze with their hands.
“It’s kind of surreal,” said Viewpoint student Sofia Jarvis, who designed and helped sculpt the monument. “It’s amazing, and I loved working with the other students.”
Hooley selected Jarvis’ design for the sculpture through a contest at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. He also chose artists who would bring the vision to life. Those students joined the 3D art class in the second semester with the primary goal of creating the monument.
“You kids took part in something special,” Hooley told those gathered for the unveiling. “I was impressed with the way you all pushed down your egos and let someone else participate. There is some part of the monument that each of you can look at and say, ‘I worked there. I finished that.’ It’s absolutely beautiful because of you.”
Students of the 3D art class who designed and sculpted the Raptor monument signed their names at the base of the statue. They were: Sofia Jarvis, Kyle Bench, Michele Curtis, Charlie Halls, Charlotte Logsdon, Elizabeth Merril, Mitt Nielson, Isabelle Prevo, Riley Strange, Elijah Streadbeck, Annie Walker, Mason Low, Samantha Halls and Dazie Gonzalez.
At the ceremony, Jarvis shared her inspiration for the positioning and expression of the raptor.
“The mascot is supposed to represent the school. Looking at pictures of mascots, I noticed they were all fierce. I wanted it to seem peaceful, serene and thoughtful, not so aggressive. I hope it shows what makes this school a place where I’ve felt accepted and at peace,” Jarvis said.
Instead of a fierce roar, she gave Rocky the Raptor a serene look. He is perched on top of a rocky cliffside and looking down to represent the school’s name, Viewpoint, and the idea that he is looking over and protecting the students.
Hooley estimated that the student artists put in a combined 150 hours outside of regular class time to complete the statue. The students covered Rocky in scales that they painstakingly sculpted by hand.
“They came in during lunch, after school, whenever they had free time,” said Hooley.
At the base of the sculpture is a compartment for a time capsule. Items from the 3D art class and the current student body will be placed there as a reminder of what they’ve accomplished.
“They’ve learned so much through this project, gained so many skills, and improved as artists and human beings,” said Viewpoint principal Aaron Barth at the unveiling. “The art of education is to help every person be a little better.”