Red Wing Sculpture Unveiled Amid School Spirit at Homecoming Assembly

Homecoming Weekend kicked off with a literal roar this morning as students gathered in Kraft Dining Hall to celebrate school spirit, engage in a friendly sing-off, and witness the unveiling of a new bronze, 150-pound member of the community.
A red wing bird sculpture, three feet tall, was created by Canton-based artist Jeff Buccacio. Buccacio crafted a bronze representation of the school mascot, which will be mounted on a stone pillar at the entrance to the new turf fields. Athletes are encouraged to touch the bird’s beak for luck as they pass by.

At Friday’s assembly, each student received a red Rivers towel to wave with fervor at suitable moments throughout the weekend. Student body presidents Maggie Barrow and George Reinhardt spoke briefly, only to be interrupted by a pair of birdwatchers: History teacher and archivist David Burzillo and science teacher/assistant dean of faculty Chris Dalton, who stole the stage (and the show) with their patter introducing the still-veiled sculpture. They traded ornithological quips about the actual red wing, a local species known for its ferocity, territoriality, and fighting spirit—all useful qualities in a mascot. Then, to cheers from the crowd, they whipped off the bird’s red shroud to reveal the impressive sculpture.

Next came a live vote to choose a name for the big bird on campus. The options—Rickie, Renny, Robbie, and Rudy—were displayed on screens at the front of the room, and students pulled out their phones to text their choices, over a suspenseful two minutes. Rickie jumped out as an early front runner and never looked back; the mascot will henceforth be known as Rickie Red Wing.

A sing-off among classes followed. Ninth graders sang “Sweet Caroline” with spirit, and the Middle School did justice to “September,” but the seniors prevailed with their rendering of “Mr. Brightside.”

Pumped up for the weekend ahead, students left the assembly to the sounds of the Rivers Honors Big Band performing Charles Mingus’s “Better Get Hit In Your Soul.” With sunny skies and seasonal temperatures in the forecast for the next few days, the first Homecoming Weekend at the new athletic complex promises to be a winner.
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