The Origins of Sven

MICHAEL ALFIERI

How ELHS chose its memorable mascot

The Viking is the iconic mascot for East Lyme High School. Everyone knows and loves the Viking, Sven, but few know of his origins, and how he became the memorable mascot of ELHS.
The name Sven is a Scandinavian first name with Old Norse roots and means young warrior. This name represents East Lyme well as East Lyme’s great athletes and students always work hard to be young  warriors.
The infamous Sven is first noticed in the music wing as a massive wooden sculpture. Sven has an extremely interesting story that goes back about 20 years ago. History teacher Roseann Hardy played a key role in wrangling Sven.
“I have a cabin up in Waterford, Maine. While driving home one day I saw a wood carver making spectacular designs. I stopped and figured out how much it would cost to make a big statue of a Viking,” said Ms. Hardy.
Ms. Hardy had to figure out all the details and start fundraisers to get enough, about $1500, for the  statue.
“Weeks go by and he was nearing finished when I came up for a visit and saw that he completely restarted. Apparently, he saw a new tree that would be perfect for Sven’s body. The only thing is he would restart with the deadline coming closer and it was much bigger and more costly. He didn’t tell someone he started a new one,” said Ms.  Hardy.
Ms. Hardy was shocked seeing the new Sven had just been started; they needed the statue to reveal at commons decorating. Luckily, the carver finished in time and a few teachers went to Maine to help bring the statue back down.
“Since the enormous statue couldn’t fit in my car, Mr. Christiansen brought his pickup truck with a trailer. They all stayed overnight in my cabin in Maine. The next morning everyone got up and went over to pick the sculpture up. After they got there, the carver said that Sven wouldn’t make it on the trailer. The carver allowed them to borrow his trailer and bring it back up. Then something else went wrong. The trailer didn’t fit on the truck. We flew over to the nearest mechanic shop and bought one that would fit. Getting a 500-pound Viking statue onto a trailer isn’t easy. We all had to work together to pull it onto the trailer using chains. Finally, we were on the road rushing. We had to make it back on time,” said Ms.  Hardy.
After many attempts, they were able to get him on the right trailer and onto the road. Getting Sven on was hard enough but getting him off was another issue.
“Once we arrived, we rolled Sven into the school and had another dilemma. We didn’t know how to stand him up. Thankfully someone suggested using airbags to push it up and brought some over. After a bunch of mishaps, coincidences and a whole lot of help. We got our Sven,” said Ms. Hardy.
Ms. Hardy was a big part in getting Sven to ELHS, and all the students are grateful.

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