When students, teachers and visitors first visit Raha they are greeted by a statue in the center of the school. The statue has 4 figures representing the PYP, MYP, DP and the Knower, each varying in size accordingly in a clockwise order. The journey for knowledge starts in the primary years and continues throughout our life as we become lifelong learners, thus becoming a knower. The figures, using their arms, form overlapping circles representing the school logo in a 3D perspective. If one were to look up from bottom of the statue, the school logo would be formed by the arms of the figures.
Mr. Mike Fluke, the husband of Ms. Brigid Toner who was the former vice principal of MYP, created the statue back in 2006. It was Mr. Mike’s first year working at a school when he had the idea of creating a 3D version of the school logo. Mr. Mike being an experienced sculpturer wanted to make a life size representation of the school. In total it took him 3 months and the help of a crane to finish the statue. When finished, beneath a brass plate in the center of the statue a time capsule was inserted in which students and teachers from the first year put in various unknown items.
Mr. Mike grew up in Canada with original roots linking him back to the Nordics, “The people who named Greenland (the place with lots of ice) and Iceland (the really green land)”. He ran away from high school and does not recommend it. He may not be considered a successful person in terms of wealth and intellect, but he sure is happy. He believes in doing what you like, what you enjoy doing. However that does not mean he is against learning, as he continues to learn everyday about different techniques and concepts relating to sculptures. Before working at Raha, he used to drive trucks in Canada, manage a construction company and finally became a freelance sculpturer. In Abu Dhabi he has a sculpture in the Shangrila Hotel in addition to many of his private sculptures such as the cement knights he made last year. His advice for aspiring sculpturers’ is “Just make stuff and don’t let anyone tell you its crap. People buy all sorts of other crap and call it art.” He loves making sculptures because it offers a different way of viewing things all around every day, which is how he came up with the idea of the school statue.
Mr. Mike left for South Korea to join Ms. Brigid in the Dwight American Academy in Seoul. The grade 12 art students made a collage of all their artwork for him as a parting present, remembering his contribution to both the art department and the school in general. Regarding his years at Raha he comments “It’s been great working at Raha thanks to the fantastic fun bunch of students we have here”
Finally, at the end of the interview I thanked Mr. Mike for all his hard work and contributions over the years to the Raha community and wish him well in South Korea.