Rare Lions on Display at Belfast Area High School 

Belfast Area High School is the home of the lions…..Now, a pair of rare African lions are helping the school live up to its name.Diana Bosch reports.”It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve never been able to be up close and personal with a lion before. It was wonderful,” says Senior Ava Gordely-Smith.Gordely-Smith welcomed the challenge of sketching a pair of lions in her art class.The high school senior was given the unique opportunity after her school acquired the stuffed and mounted felines.”You can kind of manipulate a tree, how you want. I want a leaf here, another twig here, but with an animal, you have to really capture what they look like,” she said.The lions are the newest members of the student body after they were donated by a Nokomis Regional High School teacher, a school that has a Taxidermy program as part of its curriculum.They were originally part of a collection on display at the Smithsonian Institute.The teacher received hundreds of inquiries from all over the world after he advertised the animals needed a new home before choosing Belfast.”Having something like this is such a rare thing to be able to draw lions and to tie it in with the home of the lions made so much sense.”Charles Hamm, the fine arts director and portfolio teacher, added the lions to his class as a still life project, creating a rare opportunity for students to continue their education.The lions will be on display for a year, proudly symbolizing Belfast Area High School.”We’re building a display case in the front lobby that will display them very much in the view of the public protecting their safety.”