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Jardine Middle School Students Leave Their Mark With Keeper Of The Plains Replica

A new replica of Wichita’s Keeper of the Plains statue is on display at Jardine Middle School, a STEM magnet. The statue replaces the 10-foot fiberglass Keeper vandalized and stolen from Planeview Park last fall. Arts Partners recruited students at the school to be a part of the project. KMUW's Carla Eckels spoke to the students whose work is on the new Keeper.

Aspin Golay — 6th grade

Credit Courtesy of USD 259


I think the reason why they chose the pi symbol for me is cause I'm a genius in math. I get A's in math.

It's yellow and gold stripes … I didn't know how to put anything together, then I was thinking in my head for the longest time and that's what I came up with.

I think this project is important because ever since I came to Kansas when I was like four — well, in Wichita — I went to the Keeper of the Plains with my aunt, who's now deceased, and ever since then, I always loved designing things for the Keeper. I was always up there, even for my birthday.

Frankie Trotter  — 8th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259

On my design, I chose sunrise. And then on the top, I drew a little bit of clouds and stars. Usually, when I would go outside, I would see a sunrise and it kind of inspired my design to put it on the statue, including the stars.

At first I thought I should … draw it on paper, but I started to think that maybe digital was way more easier, more comfortable for me. Even before, I was very excited to get started on the project and to paint my part of the statue.

Muhammad Sahibzada — 6th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259

I painted jaguar paws. I colored it blue and yellow, because those are the school colors.

I was excited and also a little bit nervous if I get it wrong or not. I think my paws were good. I did it to express myself and how to paint. When I saw (the Keeper replica) it was good and beautiful.

Ja'Cella Gwyn — 6th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259


I drew a whole bunch of people in a line, about four or five, and they had their fist up and they're all from different cultures: Hispanic, Black, a girl in a hijab and caucasian too, because Jardine and Wichita and Planeview as a whole is just a really diverse community.

(The Keeper replica project) means a lot because I don't really win anything that much, and I think that it will make like my family and stuff proud.

Shirley Basurto Menera — 7th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259

I just wanted to show people how I could really draw (other than) just showing it in class. I drew the (Jardine) jaguar since it just represents the school. It took me a while to draw it out, but I managed to do it. It has a lot of yellow and then a little bit of brown for the logs and a little bit of white on the ears and the tail and the legs.

It was really exciting to paint and just draw it out and get to work on it. I think that's pretty cool and exciting. So when I pass by from the park, I could look at my artwork and say that I did really good at it.

Perla Lopez — 6th grade

Credit Courtesy of USD 259

I made these electrical cords. Different types of purples, lights ones, dark ones, any purple. I think just to make the cords pop out more. I do love purple. I decided to do this because I just want to help the people that whoever ripped that (original Planeview) Keeper, that should have never happened because they worked so hard on that. And I think I just should have helped, and I think it's a good project to represent our school. It makes me feel good because all the hard work I put into it and all the other students… I'm looking forward to people seeing the project, the final look and everything.

Megan Nguyen — 6th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259


I painted the state bird, the meadowlark. It has yellow feathers and black and brown, and its eyes are very beautiful. The feather, as its wings, are really gorgeous. It's something I don't think other birds have. It just makes us unique.

I chose the meadowlark because of how it represents Wichita. And I just think it's the perfect thing to put on our Keepers project because the Keepers project represents us. So I think it's a good idea.

I feel like I want to be a part of something big, and I felt like I can do something new since it's my first time in middle school and I kind of want to go outgoing more, be more social.

I think it will be very pretty, you know, I think I'll be proud of my work that I did.

Tagyn Miller — 6th Grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259

I drew the symbol of the school, the science symbol, and I also drew a plane that has a banner on the back of it that says "Jardine Jaguars aim high." decided to do the symbol because I wanted to represent my school because it's in Planeview, and then I decided to do the plane because I wanted to represent the Air Force and everything they do for us.

I feel like it's important to be part of this art project because you need to know what's going on around your school and what's going on around your city in general.

Sully Vo — 6th Grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259


I wrote a word "Planeview," and I shade it. Then it feels like it's floating on air. The main color is dark green and gold. I feel very happy and then like my family always come here and they'll see, 'Oh, this is me, and I draw this,' and be very happy. I want to say that Jardine is a good school and I love it at Jardine school.

Sydney Gumm — 6th grade 

Credit Courtesy of USD 259


I did Rosie the Riveter and one of the planes, like the World War II "Doc" plane. Wichita is the Air Capital of the World and that's where I got the plane idea. And since we were making a new Keeper, I was trying to think of some stuff from Wichita that I could put on the Keeper.

I've never actually made something to where, like, almost everybody could see it. Usually whenever I do art it's usually my family or it's people at school. That's as far out as my art gets. I don't know what people are going to think but I hope they like it.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.