Tribute Viking statue revealed
A dream can quickly become reality when a little hard work, dedication and drive are applied.
Mt. Pleasant Area School Board President Robert Gumbita can attest to that, as he saw his vision for a fundraising tribute come to fruition on Friday at the high school with the debut of the new Viking Honor Court.
Only a few short month ago, Gumbita launched plans to erect a bronze-like statue of a Viking, then surround it with bricks that can be purchased in honor or memory of any former Viking.
“I want to congratulate Mr. Gumbita on his project,” Ken Williams, Mt. Pleasant Junior-Senior High School principal, said. “This is a way to give back to the school district now and for years to come.”
The statue was revealed as part of the annual homecoming pep rally that was held in the afternoon. The student body filled the back parking lot area of the school to participate in the program.
“I think it's just beautiful,” Gumbita said of the statue, explaining that it is only 90 percent completed and will be sent back to be finished, then returned to its spot outside the Viking fieldhouse in a few weeks. “I wanted it to be here for this special pep assembly.”
Bricks have been available, and although a few have been purchased, Gumbita feels that when the statue is up and in place, more interest will be generated.
“Once people see this, it will really take off,' Gumbita said.
Application forms for the bricks can be obtained at any school district building office or by downloading them from the district's website. Brick prices and sizes vary and can be customized with clip art for a small fee.
The bricks will be placed around the statue. The money from the project will go to whatever the purchaser designates, such as a sport, library, fine arts or music.
“We figured it out, and this area is 2,260 square feet,” Gumbita said. “If we fill the area with Viking bricks, then we will generate over $300,000 dollars in all.”
Gumbita added that the cost of the project was covered by donations, fundraising and private funding.
“Not one part of the cost of this project came from the school district,” Gumbita said. “This entire project was completed at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayers of this district.”
Several school board members and area officials participated in the program.
“I think that this is awesome,” Viking alumnus and Mt. Pleasant Township Supervisor Frank Puskar said of the statue and bricks. “Mr. Gumbita always comes up with very creative and imaginative ideas for the district. It's so nice to see this Viking Pride.”
Gumbita told the students at the assembly that he hopes the statue will act as a motivational tool for those who see it and appreciate its meaning.
“I hope that this statue helps to inspire them to excel on the playing fields, but mostly importantly, to excel in the classrooms,” Gumbita said.
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.