EBN: Wildcat pride


The wildcat statue stands in its future location as it will be intended to look like once it is finished and presented.

Craig White

A gift of one wildcat, remembering two lost

A sculpture will be installed in honor of two community members Kathleen (12) and Lauren Oliver (class of 2013) who died in a car accident, Aug. 15. The Board of Education approved the installation of a life-size bronze wildcat sculpture, a gift from the Oliver family, according to Board Docs, Sept. 19.

“My family and I really wanted to do something to honor Kathleen and Lauren in a way that everyone would see every day, so my dad [Mr. Sam Oliver] thought of a bigger wildcat statue because the one by the flag on the football field is kind of small,” Anna Oliver (9) said.

Mr. Oliver researched, found and contacted Mr. Stanley J. Wattssculptor.

Mr. Watt’s work is nationally known, and he has pieces in the Utah State Capital Building, the National Fallen Firefighters Museum and more. Mr. Watt owns his own bronze foundry: Atlas Bronze Casting.

“Stan Watts was very interested in helping us,” Mr. Oliver said. “He’s sympathetic to the story and wanted to be able to help memorialize Kathleen and Lauren in addition to providing a lasting piece of art for the school.”

The artist is currently at work on the sculpture, which will be a life-size, bronze wildcat standing 3′ high by 8′ long. A bronze plaque will be attached to the statue to identify the gift in honor and memory of Kathleen and Lauren Oliver, according to Board Docs.

Mr. Oliver hopes for it to be complete by Thanksgiving Break and in place before Winter Break.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $30,000, according to Board Docs. The community also contributed this gift. Students raised around $10,000 for a memorial through t-shirt sales, according to Mr. Oliver.

“All that work that they have done is going to go right to supporting and making this memorial possible,” Mr. Oliver said in a phone interview, Oct. 27.

“I was really happy when I found out about the plans for the statue because the other cheerleaders, and I raised a lot of money for their family to be able to do something for Kathleen and Lauren,” Zia Zagarri, varsity cheer captain, said. “When the cheerleaders and I found out it was going to be a statue. It was really exciting to know we were a part of the big plan.”

The statue, when it arrives, will be placed in the garden outside the library in the courtyard, a central location visible to passing students, those coming into the atrium for sporting events and from the overlooking windows inside the library.

“It’s a very sad reason for our high school to receive such a great gift like that, but at the same time it’s a very fitting tribute to Kathleen and Lauren and also to the community spirit of Eureka,” Mrs. Deborah Asher, head principal, said. “I think that’s what the Olivers wanted to express.”

The wildcat statue will forever stand as a memorial to them, but their real legacy will be their active participation in this community and the spirit they shared with their classmates, Mr. Oliver said.

“I think the student body and everyone will be really excited to see the sculpture,” Zagarri said. “The area in the courtyard where the statue is going will be a place where we can go to remember them.”