By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor-elect Jason Shelton will bring something to east Tupelo next week that hasn’t been there since the 1940s.
His swearing-in at Lawhon Elementary School will be the first mayor to take the oath of office in that area since going from stand-alone municipality to a part of larger Tupelo in 1946.
While Shelton says he’ll represent all of the city as mayor, he’ll use this ceremony and celebration to pay homage to his roots .
After the 5:30 p.m. swearing-in ceremony for Shelton and in-coming City Council members at the school, a reception will follow at the Elvis Presley Birthplace Event Center.
“There’s a lot of people who live here who haven’t been or haven’t been in a long time,” Shelton said. “I hope the swearing-in will give people another opportunity to see it again.”
The reception, which will include an Elvis tribute artist and other local musicians, will also feature local flavor, literally. The event will include “Johnnie burgers” from Johnnie’s Drive In, a staple in the area.
East Tupelo resident Dale Dobbs, Shelton’s principal while attending Lawhon and Tupelo High School, will formally welcome attendees at the ceremony. Dobbs compiled a history of East Tupelo in 1978 as part of a graduate history course at the University of Mississippi.
The day’s events will emphasize the eastern part of the community known for working class, blue-collar people.
“I think it’s a very appropriate place,” Dobbs said of the school.
Jerry King, who was Shelton’s youth minister at East Heights Baptist Church, will give the opening prayer, while Gloria McKinney of St. Paul United Methodist Church delivering the closing prayer.
Circuit Court Judge Paul Funderburk, who also attended Lawhon School, will administer the swearing-in, and Larry Montgomery will sing the national anthem.