Star student's dynamic donation to alma mater
St. Albert High makes permanent home for tall steel sculpture
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 06:00 am
Nick Kazakoff graduated from St. Albert Catholic High School in 2008, but he always holds fond memories for the place.
In return, the school now features a prominent display of his fondness right on the front lawn. A colossal sculpture made of steel stands more than three metres high, weighs nearly 300 kg and rises like an obelisk, but with more juts and acute angles to prove its dynamic nature.
It’s a work that holds the viewer’s fascination for how it seems to be still and in perpetual motion at the same time. A unique nook on one side seems to show the very heart of it all, a secret space guarded on both sides of what could be a lightning bolt, a sundial or an S-shaped homage to the school’s Skyhawks, the volleyball team on which he was once the celebrated captain and coach.
“If you walk around it, if you try and comprehend how that space is created … it’s a little bit of a mystery,” he said.
Kazakoff, now 22, is in his fifth year of studies in the Industrial Design program at the University of Alberta. He said it’s that element of dynamism coupled with a strong sense of balance that made him think it would make the perfect gift to all of the St. Albert High students.
“I thought it would be a great inspiration for the school. I thought it would be great for me to leave a piece of myself here. The school means a lot to me. It’s a great part of the community at large.”
The unveiling coincided with the official opening of the newly renovated gym space. The entire student body was in attendance, along with members from the Catholic School Board of Trustees and senior administration.
The school was enthusiastic upon hearing the sculptural offer.
“As soon as Mr. Doll heard about it, he was all over it. He thought it was a great idea and he knew exactly where to put it.”
Principal Garret Doll said that the work should stand as a symbol for many students for years to come.
“We are proud to showcase Nick's sculpture as a representation of what happens when a student follows their passion and talent. He is an inspiration for many.”
Former art teacher Andrew Raczynski said that the former star student indeed left a legacy when he graduated, recalling that he was not only an excellent athlete and talented artist but also excelled in his studies, winning the Governor General’s Award for his academic standing, the highest in the school at the time.
He was also the first recipient of the Stephen Barr Memorial Award for students in the fields of visual arts or architecture. Kazakoff also recently completed a year of design studies in Germany.
“He has won so many awards and scholarships at the University of Alberta,” Raczynski said during his speech to the assembly.
It took Kazakoff seven hours a week for two full semesters to complete the work, his final project for one of his design courses. He praised his professor, renowned Modernist sculptor Peter Hide, for his guidance and assistance on the abstract work.
“The sculpture speaks to not only the gifts that Nick possesses but his great generous spirit,” Raczynski said, adding that he refers to Kazakoff as “a Renaissance Man.”