The ’Cat’s almost out of the bag


Mark Schledorn

Members of the Senior Class of 2016 get a sneak preview of the new wildcat statue in early August.

When students from area high schools walk through the halls, they are greeted by a statue of their school mascot. Melbourne High has a bulldog, Heritage a panther and Palm Bay a pirate. Now, West Shore will soon be getting its own wildcat statue. Using the last bit of their funds, and even some from the Class of 2015, the Senior Class of 2016 purchased a cast figure to leave as its legacy.

“When I first heard about it I thought it was kind of weird,” recent graduate Krissy Mendez said. “I was really looking forward to having the food trucks at the senior picnic, and I was disappointed when I heard that they were booked. I eventually came around to the idea of the statue though, because no other class has left anything like this before.”

Originally, Class of 2016 members did not have enough money to make the $7,000 purchase, but with help from school bookkeeper Kay Beach, they were able to find $1,000 left over from the Class of 2015.

“The plan was to bring in food trucks for senior picnic and order new benches for the school,” said Sergio Carlos, last year’s Senior Class communications officer. “However, the food trucks were booked, and we weren’t able to get them. We then found a fund left by the Class of 2015 for the purpose of buying the statue.”

Despite some criticism from the Class of 2016 about making a statute their, Joy Oni supported the purchase.

“I know that some people thought it was a waste of money to buy the statue, but I personally really like it,” the recent graduate said. “It’s a great reminder of how hard our class worked to raise all the money that we did. The officers and the class as a whole really put in a  lot of effort in all of the fund-raisers, and so I think that leaving a legacy that is so obvious is nice.”

The unveiling of the Wildcat will be held on Sep. 23, the Friday before Homecoming.

“If you stand on the east side looking west, you will see a red brick planter on the left-hand side,” 2016 Senior Class sponsor Jill Whitacre said. “It has palm trees on it and a semi-circle of bricks between waiting for a statue.”