Soroco High School sophomore names donated bronze sculpture 'Roco'

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A new ram statue sits in the lobby of Soroco High School in Oak Creek on Thursday afternoon. The statue was recently donated to the school.

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Courtesy photo

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Soroco High School Principal Dr. James Chamberlin shows off the school's new ram statue in the lobby area Thursday afternoon in Oak Creek. A student contest was held to name the statue, and "Roco" was selected from a pool of about 25 submissions.

— As Soroco Middle and High School Principal Dr. James Chamberlin pored over dozens of suggested names for the school's new mascot, one stood out above the rest.

Sophomore Brett McElhinney's suggestion, Roco, took the cake, he said.

"As in So'Roco,'" Chamberlin said Friday. "It's a strong, masculine name that we think is fitting for the type of sculpture it is."

Roco the Ram is a bronze sculpture that was donated to the South Routt School District by a former School Board member and parent of Soroco alum.

At the beginning of the 2007 school year, Superintendent Kelly Reed offered $50 out of his pocket to whichever student named the sculpture when he announced the contest to the student body.

Chamberlin said the sculpture's name was supposed to be announced during the Soroco homecoming football game last week, but the contest was extended to "broaden the pool."

"Some of (the names) were pretty colorful," he said. "They were pretty creative, but ultimately, I chose Roco because it's in 'Soroco.'"

Roco beat out about 25 other suggestions that included Ramsley, Sam the Ram, Rambo, Aries, Lola, Ralph, Earl and Rammy.

Generous gift

Reed called the donation "very generous" and expressed his gratitude for the gift on behalf of the district.

"It'll be a great addition because it will represent the image of our School District in a positive fashion," he said. "We're very appreciative of the efforts made to honor our schools."

Current School Board President Tim Corrigan helped facilitate the donation, which was made "anonymously" by Mike Hendrickson.

Hendrickson, a jeweler and former art importer, found someone in Thailand who specialized in bronze work, Corrigan said.

Hendrickson "became enamored with the thought of getting a bronze ram for the school," Corrigan said. "It was finally completed and delivered to Steamboat last spring."

Roco's first stop was at Bob's Conoco in Steamboat Springs, where Corrigan and several others loaded the heavy sculpture into a truck.

"Mike called me and said, 'You're the School Board president, you deal with it,'" Corrigan said. "When I realized what he'd done, I went, 'Wow, Mike.' I was very impressed."

After sitting in Corrigan's business for several months, the ram was finally delivered to its new home this summer.

Work in progress

That's when Soroco High School teacher Kipp Rillos' seventh-hour building trades class entered the picture.

The class of about 11 students from all grades was tasked with creating a temporary mount for the sculpture as well as building a final base and bench for when the sculpture is set outside the high school.

"It was great that (Chamberlin) gave the kids ownership of the project, because they've really taken charge and designed it all," Rillos said.

Working with the ram sculpture has given the students an opportunity to work with power tools, math and other trades' principles.

"It has been a good collaborative project for the school," he said. "It's been a good, tangible application of how you can use algebraic equations in the real world, in actual construction."

Rillos said the students would continue to work on the project the rest of the year and were hopeful to have the sculpture set by the end of the school year.

"It's a fairly involved project with all the masonry work and all," he said.

Chamberlin said he is grateful to have the sculpture for the school.

"Hopefully it will be a lasting memory for our student body," he said.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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