Tiger pride on display in Hayden | SteamboatToday.com

Tiger pride on display in Hayden

— Hayden Valley Elementary School students got a big surprise Thursday when a life-sized tiger statue arrived on a trailer along with the Unstoppable Man.

This school year, a group of fifth-graders set out to raise money to purchase the statue that was for sale at the Furniture Gallery of Craig.

Student Keenan Hayes said he saw the statue and thought it would be a good addition to the school to show its Tiger pride.

"It's awesome," Keenan said.

Principal Rhonda Sweetser thought raising the $3,200 would take a couple of years, so she was surprised when the students reached their goal quickly.

"I think it was very motivating for these kids," Sweetser said.

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The student council took the lead for fundraising and was guided by staff members Zach Wuestewald and Danielle Dellos.

The students raised the money by selling concessions, hosting a community dance and getting pledges for Thursday's Tiger Fun Run.

Sweetser said the students knew they had raised enough money, but they had no idea the tiger would arrive on the last day of school.

Craig Conrad, a motivational speaker and former Moffat County teacher, assumed his alter ego as the Unstoppable Man to deliver the statue. Conrad told the students that the tiger represented pride in their school, the hard work and teamwork at the school and should remind them to never quit "because the Hayden Valley Elementary School kids are unstoppable."

"They worked hard for it and did a super job in leaving a legacy," Superintendent Mike Luppes said.

The students wanted the tiger to be placed at the high school. A concrete slab already has been poured next to the gazebo along Jefferson Avenue.

"They wanted it where the community could see it and where they could see it for the rest of their lives and careers," Luppes said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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