Since 1963, James Robert “Radio” Kennedy has been omnipresent at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina. He was only 16, brain damaged and speechless, when he began hanging out at the football practice field, mimicking the coach, his only companion a transistor radio that he kept in his pocket. The radio — and Kennedy’s sunny nature — caught the fancy of the school, and Kennedy was adopted by succeeding classes of kids as the Hanna Yellow Jackets’ good luck charm, assistant coach, team manager, and head cheerleader.
Kennedy will turn 60 later in 2006, still hangs around T.L. Hanna High School, and always will. That’s because a life-size bronze statue of Kennedy was unveiled by Kennedy on April 19, sculpted by Andy Davis, who was inspired by watching the 2003 movie about Radio titled “Radio.” Ed Harris, who played the coach in the film, gave money toward the creation of the statue (Radio was played by Cuba Gooding Jr.).
For now the Radio statue stands in the Medicus Sculpture Garden of the Anderson County Arts Warehouse. It will eventually be moved to the high school’s campus.
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