EL PASO, Texas--Hanks high school is receiving a gift fit for a king...or a knight, at least! The artist is none of than former Texas State Representative Joe Pickett. The metal sculpture featuring two 7-foot swords, and the school's iconic "H", is now proudly on display at Hanks.
It's a gift from the class of 2022, and the brainchild of class president Kayla Diaz, now a UTEP student.
"I wanted it to be like a wow factor, like a photo op. Just like an attraction to our school. I felt like we needed that," says Kayla.
She asked her dad's friend, Joe Pickett, if he could make a sword. Turns out he did much more than that i! In addition to the man hours, he donated most of the materials. What would have cost 15 to 20-thousand dollars cost next to nothing, thanks to his generosity.
While many El Pasoans are used to seeing Pickett suited up in a professional capacity, he says he's happy as can be holed up in his workshop. It's where he has spent much of his time after stepping down from full-time politics due to a cancer diagnosis.
"They told me do as much physical activity as you can. I still lift weights, and working with metal is not easy and within 30-40 min you can work up a sweat," Pickett says. He's now cancer free, and says his metal work gives him an outlet, and purpose.
It gives all Hanks school Knights, past and present, something to be proud of. Especially Kayla:
"I love it and i can't wait to see how it's displayed on campus, especially after all the hard work that me and Joe put into it," Kayla says.