NORMAN — Alcott Middle School student Samuel Smith hopes his years of training in Boy Scouts of America will pay off for the Norman community when his Eagle Scout service project is complete.
Smith is working with a local artist to create a bronze statue of a wildcat for Alcott Middle School. The wildcat is the school mascot. Smith, the son of Paul and Bridget Smith, of Norman, is a member of Troop 20.
Smith said creating a statue has been more complicated than he expected. Besides coordinating numerous things at one time, he has to work within a timeline to complete the project before school is out for summer.
He said he hopes the completed project will boost morale and encourage pride at the school.
“I have gone to Alcott for three years,” Smith said.
“When thinking about selecting a project, I just wanted to give back to my school. It will give the students a more potent sense of pride and ownership for Alcott, the school that they are associated with.”
Local artist and sculptor Wade Heckes helped design and sculpt the wildcat, which will be posed atop a granite base. Heckes said he was eager to help since he attended Alcott when it was called West Junior High.
“I thought that it was a great idea and project,” he said. “I believe that the Boy Scouts is a great organization, and I am pleased that I could help Samuel on his Eagle project.”
Heckes donated his time to sculpt the piece, and granite for the sculpture's base was donated by Flintstone Rock in Oklahoma City. However, Smith needs to raise funds to molding, casting, welding and finishing the statue. The approximate cost is $5,000.
“If we get the whole community on this bandwagon, then it would truly be a community project,” Smith said. “I know there are a lot of people who have attended Alcott, or West Junior High, as it used to be called, or that their children attended the school that would like to help make a statue of the mascot for the first time.”
Bridget Smith said she and her husband are proud of the maturity their son has shown throughout the project.
“Because of Scouts, Samuel has learned to give back to the community,” she said.
“He loves his school. He wanted to give something back to Alcott, and the wildcat statue allowed him that opportunity.”
A clay sculpture of the wildcat has been on display at the school. Once funding has been established, the sculpture will be sent to JSC Manufacturing Inc. in Wilson to be bronzed.
Bridget Smith said the owners of the foundry were impressed when they found out a student was doing the project.
“When the owners of the foundry learned the project was being done by a young man for his Eagle project, they were amazed and commented that the level of organization necessary to complete the project on time and under budget is a sizable task for an adult,” she said. “We are all so proud of Samuel.”
HOW TO HELP
Donations can be sent to Samuel Smith, 4304 Upper Lake Drive, Norman, OK 73072. Checks should be made out to BSA Troop 20, c/o Samuel Smith Eagle Project.