Bluejay statue finds welcomed home at MHS
Anyone passing through the MHS fieldhouse recently may have noticed a large, rather imposing figure having taken a permanent perch near the facility’s public entrance.
That figure, standing eight feet tall and weighing just over 600 pounds, is none other than a Bluejay statute hand carved from white pine and generously donated by Wausau craftsman Mike Clark, who happens to be the neighbor of MHS Associate Principal Brad Potter.
As Clark explains, wood carving has been a hobby of his for about the last 10 years. He first took an interest while working with other Boy Scout leaders who carve. Clark’s numerous carvings range from full sized black bears to an eight foot tall Blue Heron and a four foot tall Gold Finch. The Bluejay project required just over 100 hours to complete, beginning in mid-May and finished by mid-September. But just how the statue came to make the trek from Clark’s home in Wausau to Merrill High School, stemmed from a neighborly conversation in late June.
“I didn’t really have any particular reason for carving a Bluejay,” Clark explains. “As with most of my work, I usually see a photo or something and decide to carve it. A professional chainsaw artist once told me, as long as you have a day job, carve whatever you want. That’s exactly what happened with the Bluejay. I saw a photo one day and thought it would be cool to try carving the Bluejay.
“I had an 1,100-pound, eight foot tall white pine log, so why not. I had only been working on it a few weeks when Brad stopped over. As we were chatting he asked if I had any plans for the Bluejay once it was finished. I told him I wasn’t really sure. There’s not much of a market for eight foot Bluejays. Brad mentioned he worked at Merrill High School and the Merrill mascot was the Bluejay. It was an honor to donate this to Merrill High School,” he adds with a grin.
Best of all, the gift will remain for future generations of staff and students to enjoy for many years to come. In fact, according to Clark, with proper care and maintenance there really is no expiration or lifespan for the statute.
“As long as any cracks are treated with sealant as they appear, this statue will last as long as it’s welcome,” Clark said.
According to Potter, the statute has been given quite the warm reception by both students and staff.
“The Bluejay has been well received by students and staff. I have heard staff say they think the statute is beautiful and that they are so surprised that someone would completely donate it to the school. Students I’ve asked say they like it as well, some have said it looks a bit intimidating because of its size, which is good for opposing teams!” Potter jokes.
“When it comes to describing the statue itself, words such as remarkable, moving, distinguished and phenomenal come to mind,” adds MAPS Superintendent Dr. John Sample. “But words, however, don’t begin to do justice in describing the generosity of Mr. Clark. He started with a very large white pine log and created a representation of Bluejay pride that will live indefinitely.”