Metamora students make human Cardinal's head to show spirit

Jessica Van Beek

METAMORA — Nothing shows school spirit like a combined 900 students and faculty working together to form a human mosaic in the shape of a Cardinal’s head.

On May 21, what started as a fun new idea at Metamora High School to keep students showing school spirit as the end of the school year approaches turned into somewhat of a fundraiser for Student Recognition Days and possibly a tradition for  the high school.

The dean of students at Metamora High School, Bob Schlemmer, came up with the idea.

Schlemmer said on these days he may have a pizza party, buy a student a soda or popcorn, or pay for the student’s lunch. The dean added when someone is nice, people jump on the bandwagon.

The event did not start out as a fundraiser, but everyone was pleased with the outcome of the Redbird head photograph taken by Pam Siefken from Portraits by Pam.

Jackie Mathews from the athletic department at Metamora High School said the idea to form a Redbird head using the students and faculty came from an Elgin high school’s website. That high school made a lightening bolt using the student body, but Metamora took it a step further. Freshmen wore yellow, sophomores white, juniors were split between black and red, and seniors and staff wore red. Sophomore football coach Curt Ryan scaled the field and mapped it out with flags corresponding to the specific colors each group was assigned to wear. Schlemmer described Ryan as a “godsend,” because without him, the whole thing would not have been possible.

Siefken was the other hero on that dreary day in May.

Mathews said Siefken volunteered to take photographs of the process of the Redbird head forming.

The final picture was intended to be taken by a helicopter, but the weather would not allow it.

The pilot was on standby, but Siefken ended up photographing the finished product from the press box. Next year the aerial photograph will be taken.

Mathews said the entire process went faster than anticipated. The formation was estimated to take an hour and 15 minutes, but only took 40 minutes. Mathews added the students were very cooperative and the teachers realized it was fun instead of trying to keep their students in class.

“It takes an amazing staff to pull something like this off,” Mathews said.

Mathews said she is very happy with the outcome and as of May 26 the school was already receiving calls from people interested in purchasing a copy of the final product.

“It is one of the neatest events that ever happened at any school,” said Schlemmer.

The event was really something nice to do, especially for the students who are recognized for being so nice, and Schlemmer said they are going to try to make the formation every year.