By Lorraine DiSano
As you stroll into the lower gym, you might notice the new addition to the patio: the bobcat statue. This comes as one of many new additions to Byram Hills High School this school year. At first, many had questions about the statue and its purpose, but now, it has already become a fixture in the Byram community.
The original idea behind the Bobcat statue sprang from the BHHS Hall of Fame. So far, there have already been two graduating classes inducted into the Hall of Fame, and the tradition has just begun. Mr. Allen has been working on the Hall of Fame for a number of years, and the statue was his idea. After receiving a large, generous donation, the school was finally able to get the project underway. Mr. Allen worked alongside Allan Hamwi, a sculptor, for 6 months, building and discussing the statue.
After the statue had been completed, the debate over where to place the statue ensued. The administrators took inspiration from several colleges and professional teams who touch or salute their school sign or statue before games; this ritual is said to bring good luck. For example, before every Maryland Terrapins home game, coaches and players make sure to touch ‘Testudo,’ a 300-pound statue of their mascot. This is why the statue was placed right outside the lower gym. Similarly, on their way out to the fields, each of the Byram Hills sports teams is greeted by the Bobcat statue. Players and coaches can then touch the Bobcat for good luck and support. Many involved in the athletics program at Byram like the statue because they feel like it motivates and excites all their teammates before their games.
Another reason the statue was built was to encourage school spirit. Year after year, school spirit seems to be less of a driving force around Byram, and a new way to remind students to get involved and support all the athletic programs is the statue. Mr. Allen commented that “We are only halfway done.” With the Bobcat now in place, the faculty and administrators hope that students will feel a renewed sense of pride in the community.
Past generations have also loved the new statue and are proud to see it on display! During the homecoming game this year, the class of 1968 visited for their reunion. While they were on a tour of the High School, they saw the statue and heard the inspiration behind it. Many of the alumni had played sports when they were students here, and they loved the idea of having this statue to greet the Byram Hills teams before they walked onto their fields. The Bobcat will certainly be here for many years to come!