Students’ stunning Red Wolves sculpture permanently displayed at CHS stadium

  • Written by Leanne Christensen, RSD
Rod Smith and Josh Witt. Photo by Leanne Christensen
The stadium bleachers at Cedarcrest High School have recently received a dramatic facelift, and the planned construction upgrades of partially covered bleachers and field improvements aren’t the only impressive addition. There is now a stunning "Running Red Wolves" art sculpture gracing the entire stadium.

This sculpture created by seniors Rod Smith and Josh Witt was made on a "Plasma Cam" plasma cutter which was purchased through the efforts of Donna Bielstein, CTE director at Cedarcrest, with grant monies and funds from the CTE budget and the district. Bielstein and the administration at Cedarcrest wanted to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities to create projects which encouraged an active learning environment. This innovative project now is completed and has gone above and beyond everyone’s expectations.

The sculpture, from beginning to end, was constructed in the Cedarcrest High School Agriculture Metals and Wood Technology shop, a career and technical education program, under the direction of teacher Les Collins. Students in Kailyn Hammerquist’s art class developed the original sketch drawing. Rod and Josh were then given the task of blending the artists’ ideas into a group of six wolves running as a pack.

They began the process of developing a drawing using the "Plasma Cam" software. Each wolf was then linked to another to create an appearance of individuality within the pack. The project took approximately 2½ months to complete. This timeframe included the design process, the students learning time, modifications, cutting and assembly.

Rod and Josh enlarged the drawing of the sculpture to 4 by 25 feet. After a week of trial and error, the boys agreed on a final drawing. They separated each wolf from the drawing and finished the detailing of the sculpture. With much anticipation and appreciation for their time and attention to detail, they made their first wolf cut on the 16-gauge steel sheet. After all of the cutting was complete, their work continued, including some grinding, GMAW (gas metal arc welding) and a large amount of finish work.

In the end, Josh and Rod were given the unique opportunity to work with the stadium construction workers and the architect to finalize the process and attach this exceptionally impressive piece of art permanently to the Cedarcrest High School stadium. Both boys were extremely pleased to have been a part of this project, leaving such a special legacy at Cedarcrest for everyone to enjoy.

"I’m very proud of the work that Rod and Josh did on this beautiful piece of art, says Ms. Bielstein. "I would like to sincerely thank these outstanding young men, Mr. Collins, Mr. Lavarias, Mr. LaBate, Mr. Frederick, and Mrs. Hammerquist and her art class. The skills used to create and complete complex projects like these are skills that are sorely needed in our workforce today. This class offers amazing opportunities for students to learn these skills and opens so many doors for various high-earning careers in the welding and woodworking fields."

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