Richmond the Turtle Finds His New Home

If you’ve walked past Alumni Hall during these past couple of months, you may have noticed a new addition to our campus. Once displayed in the Staten Island Children’s Museum, a vibrant colored turtle statue is now proudly displayed in front of Alumni Hall. You may also be asking yourself what a turtle has to do with Staten Island Academy, as our mascot is a tiger. The turtle, affectionately named Richmond, embodies much of what Staten Island Academy believes in.

Designed by Margot O’Brien Higgins, an alumna from the Class of 1983, Richmond was originally part of a contest. Earlier this year, the Richmond County Savings Bank hosted an art competition, in which sketches of animals were submitted for a chance to bring said sketch to life on a statue. Margot chose to enter a sea turtle sketch out of her love for the reptilian species. Once her piece was selected, R.C.S.B shipped in a white turtle statue, and left Margot to her creative ways. Margot adorned Richmond with vibrant colors, like green, blue, and purple. On his shell, you can see a variety of beautiful paintings, all displaying iconic places on Staten Island. The name Richmond came from Margot herself, as a fitting name to represent Staten Island.

Richmond the Turtle

After Richmond was completed, he was put into an auction as part of the contest’s fundraiser. Margot wanted Richmond to go somewhere special, where he would be appreciated, and what better place than Staten Island Academy? Margot got in contact with her fellow classmate, Mrs.Crane, and asked if the school would like to become the home for Richmond, and SIA was right on board. “In a school over 130 years old, our alumni base is one of the most important resources that we have, because they help to tell our history and keep us connected as our world changes around us.”

Margot always had an interest in the arts. During her time at Staten Island Academy, she engaged in many of the artistic opportunities offered. After graduating, she went on to become an illustration major in college. Ever since graduating art school, she has been creating and teaching art. Both of her daughters are artists. Margot’s passion for the arts is truly unmatched. A representation of everything that makes Staten Island unique, and an embodiment of Academy spirit, Richmond is our campus’ new prized possession. Next time you’re walking past Alumni Hall, be sure to take a look at Richmond, as he truly is a sight to see.

Heather W. ’21