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The Student News Site of Liberty High School

The Live Wire

The hunt for Herky: Liberty’s new Hawkeye addition

Across Johnson County, multiple fully customized Herky statues can be seen in and out of stores, buildings, recreational centers, and soon Liberty. What is it like to make one of these statues, and what can students expect the final outcome of it to be?
Addison Pirkl
The Liberty Art Club is making a customized Herky statue to go inside of the high school.

Liberty is soon to introduce a new character to the school premises; a life size, entirely customized, six-foot tall statue of Herky the Hawk, the mascot for the University of Iowa. Across Johnson County, different Herkys can be found everywhere. From a lifeguard in front of the North Liberty Community Center, to a baker inside Scratch Cupcakes in Coralville.

Liberty’s Herky, Thunder Hawk, is being created by the Liberty Art Club, a group of eight students banding together with designs, artistic skill and dedication to bring this new addition to life.

The process of designing, receiving and creating a Herky can be long. Any artist, or group of artists, can submit a design to create their own Hawkeye. When they get their design approved, the artist(s) is given a set amount of money for tools, materials and mediums. Whatever money is left over, the artist gets to keep as payment for bringing their Herky to life. 

“Each artist produces a sketch. That sketch is then turned in to Think Iowa City, where it is approved. Once the approval process was completed, Herky was picked up and brought to Liberty,” expressed April Kelly, an art teacher and the head of the Liberty Art Club. “From there, Herky will be transported to a shop where a clear topcoat will be sprayed on it. It will then be moved out to its parade location to be unveiled in early May.”

The artist(s) spend hours drawing, painting, clothing, gluing and bedazzling the Herky. After the Hawkeye is finished, there are multiple different outcomes as to where the statue goes. It can go in the Herky On Parade, in storage or on display. In Liberty’s case, Thunder Hawk will be completed, paraded and unveiled next year inside the school.

“For [our] Herky, we sketched out multiple ideas and designs that showed spirit of the school,” stated Audrey Adams, 10, an art club member helping to work on creating Thunder Hawk. “We had to go back and forth until we finally decided on the design we’re making now. We then had to decide the materials we needed to use for him, such as spray foam, paints, sequins, caulk, etc… It was a long process.”

Creating the statue takes perseverance and dedication, and is often met with trial and error. Nearly every art project is a winding road of ups and downs, and the Herky is one of them. Embodying such a large project with life and perfection takes a lot of effort. This statue will be on display for years to come, and has to personify the classic Liberty spirit.

“We are still currently in the process of creating Herky, however, we expect it to be done around March 29,” reflected Ayla Nixt, 10, another student working to create Thunder Hawk. “This process has been very messy, with many mistakes, but we’ve learned along the way.”

Liberty is not the only high school in ICCSD creating its own personalized Herky. West High School and City High School are both creating their own respective Herkys that will be put on display later on.

“You can expect great things from [our] Herky,” Adams expressed. “…however, I don’t think I can reveal anything about him until the unveiling next year.”

The design and final outcome of Herky is still under wraps until it’s showcased next school year (2024-25). The Liberty Art Club has made sure there has been no telling of the finished product, and no photos while he is in progress. However, they assure that he will reflect Liberty in the best ways possible.

“I’m not sure what I can and cannot say about Herky in terms of what it will look like…” agreed Nixt. “However, it will absolutely represent Liberty High School spirit.”

Thunder Hawk will be one in over 80 displayed Herkys across Johnson County, hiding in plain sight. The Iowa City Press-Citizen has an interactive map with a name and address for each one, listed here. Each one is unique, creative and colorful, and makes a great scavenger hunt across the University of Iowa campus.

Liberty is steadily growing with every year that passes by, and with the new addition of Thunder Hawk, the high school has found a way to embrace both Bolt and Hawkeye spirit, adding a unique and fitting element to the evergrowing school.

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About the Contributor
Addison Pirkl
Addison Pirkl, Website Manager
This is Addison's second year on staff as a Website Manager, and she spends most of her time drawing, writing, and having her nose stuck in a book...