By Hector Arrieta, Editor in Chief
The bronze eagle statue in front of the chapel is a fairly new addition to the Verbum Dei High School campus. The Forster Family donated the eagle statue on September 9, 2006, the feast day of St. Peter Claver. The reason for the donation is stated in copper lettering on the statue’s plaque: “To inspire all Verbum Dei Gentleman to be rooted in God’s Word; and as God’s special possession, to keep soaring with hope in your hearts.”
However, the real reason behind the donation is a lot more interesting.
“[The Forster’s] son attended the school, and someone in the Forster family was an olympian,” said Jeff Bonino-Britsch, Vice President of Operations. “They had [the statue] in their garden, and they decided to donate it to the school since we’re the Eagles.”
The eagle statue depicts an eagle taking flight from a branch. Its wings are fully extended in the air, one claw is off the branch, and its eyes and beak are facing opportunity. The bronze eagle statue has become an important aspect to the culture here at Verbum Dei, especially among members of the football teams. After the prayer service before each game, each team member touches the eagle. The patina of the eagle’s beak takes on a polished quality through the football season and reverts to weathered bronze for the remainder of the year.
“[The statue] is more of an identifier of reaching as high as you can,” commented Jensen Fluellen, alumnus from the Class of 2005 and current Athletics Assistant. “So the imagery and the motivation is to soar as high as an eagle at the event that you can touch an eagle’s head.”
While the eagle statue is popular among the football team, its meaning and aesthetics
transcends an athletic tradition.
“I think it adds a lot,” said Bonino-Britsch. “It’s just such a beautiful image of an eagle that’s large and right in front of the chapel, it’s a picturesque spot. We loved that it was a courtyard effect, so that people could just gather in that one spot when they come on campus. And it’s just visually appealing.”