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January displays are honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. and International Holocaust Remembrance Day. There is also a “Warm up with a good book!” display.
The first thing to catch an eye upon driving up to Mulberry High School is the blue and white sign that stands at the front of the school. For more than 50 years, Panthers have hung out or taken pictures by that Mulberry High School sign at the bottom of the hill. However, not many know the story behind the sign. The graduating class of 1957 wanted to leave something special behind for the Panthers that would succeed them. They decided on the concept of a sign thanks to a young man with a special talent for drawing and design, Richard David Stavely (Class of 1957). After graduation, Stavely went on to serve in the Vietnam War and was in Germany from 1958 to 1959. In Richard’s absence, his father, Carl Stavely, enlisted the aid of Richard's brother, Ansley “Buddy” Stavely ( class of 1961), to bring the concept to life. The sign was built in the summer of 1958. Ansley refers to the sign as “A family pride thing.” He says, “It is even more so now, since it has been there for all these years. Hopefully, it will stay there forever.”
Something that makes the sign unique is its cutout. While most people don’t know that the hollow square was meant to be filled with an image of “Peppy”, our mascot, it has turned out to be the perfect photo space. Countless students have been photographed throughout the years with their heads in the square and those photos have always held meaning for the student body of Mulberry High School. There is just something special about that historic sign. When asked how that made him feel, with a chuckle Ansley Stavely said, “It makes me feel good. That’s something that would make my brother feel good as well, and if my dad was alive, he would feel the same way.”
So many Panthers, past and present, feel a sense of pride and nostalgia connected to that sign. Abigail Chaney (Class of 2021) says, “That sign is what makes the school noticeable, that it’s our school!” Several other alumni feel the same way and hope to see the sign stay. “I don’t think anybody that has ever graduated from Mulberry High School, since that sign was put up, would like it to be torn down,” said Ansley Stavely.
As 2020 comes to a close, the little school on the hill that so many know and love will be moving on up! Mulberry High School will be receiving a much needed upgrade that will encompass so much more than just shiny new walls. Although most of the new school won’t be located on the hill, students will benefit from state of the art classrooms, uniquely designed common areas, the most modern athletic facilities, and much more. Because of the sign's significance to the community and the Mulberry pride that it symbolizes, Mulberry High School is making sure to preserve it for future generations.
Alumni, we would love to hear any stories you have from your time on the hill, or any information you have about the school. Please reach out to our yearbook adviser, Mrs. Sarah Titak via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at 941-815-5137 to share your story.
Yearbooks have been a long-standing tradition with the first ones being recorded as far back as the 1600s. The oldest surviving yearbook was printed in the 1800s, but even though it isn't as old, the first Mulberry High School Yearbook is a sight to engender nostalgia. Recently uncovered in the "MHS Archives", the Mulberry Tree Staff of 2021 amazed to view the world through the lens of 1921. This spring is the 100-year anniversary of the printing of this first Mulberry Tree and the staff needed to honor the history of the book they have worked so hard on. The staff felt this was especially important since the 2021 Mulberry Tree is going through a transformation this year in order to create a "new" yearbook.
Printed in 1921, the first ever Mulberry Tree is spotted with age but full of information including photos of the first high school building in Mulberry (built in 1909), an advertisement from Wogan Badcock, stories of the events of that year, and even information about the early start of public school in Mulberry. It is a treasure, and the 2021 Mulberry Tree Staff are set to honor its 100th anniversary by moving it into digital form. Once their own book is finished, of course.
We chose the theme "No Turning Back". The reason we chose this theme is because of the changes that have inundated us this year: Covid, masks, breaking ground on our new campus, just to name a few.
The past of our school is, and will always be, a part of us, but as we go through this school-year and the continued unforeseen events, there is truly no turning back. We can only continue to keep moving forward.
Almost HALF if the books are already sold! Be sure to buy yours before we run out. MyYearbookOrderCenter.com Job #15565
You might have thought Spence Park couldn’t get any better, but it did on December third with the completion of a new mural. With the addition of the mural by Gabriela Jaxon, a traveling artist, Mulberry’s true colors were expressed in artistic form.
When creating the mural Jaxon said that she was inspired by vibrant colors and the electric energy that comes with them. The mural was no easy feat as it took her five to six hours a day for six days to create. With the help of a Lakeland High School student, she completely free-handed the mural in spray paint.
For Gabriella Jaxon this was nothing compared to the many other murals she has created across America. Her murals are featured in Chicago, New York, and Miami. California is going to be the location of her next mural. Jaxon's first mural was on a two-story building in Lakeland which is when she solidified herself as an impressive artist. When she is not travelling,
Gabriella Jaxon owns an art studio in Lakeland and works hard on her craft. She sees the new Mulberry mural as a way to encourage anyone doubting their artistic abilities and their chances of being a success. When asked to give advice to the students of Mulberry High School, Ms. Jaxon said, “Dream Big!”