By JB Clark
TUPELO – Students, teachers, parents, administrators and alumni gathered at Tupelo High School on Saturday to remember and celebrate the school’s 100 years of academic and athletic excellence.
Freddy Grant, who graduated from Tupelo High School in 1964, said he remembered moving into the new high school at the time, now Tupelo Middle School.”
“I was the first sophomore class into it,” he said. “It was one big building and it was the most amazing school in the state at the time. Now this is the most amazing school in the state and it’s more like a college campus than a high school.”
Grant played baseball and football at Tupelo High School and said those were some of his favorite memories.
“I was a country boy from Plantersville who lived on a dirt road and went to Tupelo High School,” he said. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.”
Doyce Deas was a senior when the current middle school was first finished, making her class the first to graduate out of the building.
“There was a real community spirit there,” she said. “I think, of course the friends I made were a fond memory and our class has remained exceptionally close, the best memories have to be the quality of teachers we had.”
Deas said she is now proud to see the success the high school has achieved in the new building, which is built on land donated by her family.
“I’m proud of what’s been built out here and the course offerings and opportunities these kids have that are even greater than what he had.”
Jacque Prather, who graduated in 1953, said the community spirit around Tupelo High School is greater than he would have ever imagined.
“The school has grown beyond my belief,” he said. “I never thought we would have something equal to a junior college. There is a lot more public support for the school than we had back in the 50s and that’s not just in the schools, that’s everything in Tupelo.”
Linda Wright spent time Saturday in the Performing Art Center studying the students’ displays of the history of Tupelo High School while reminiscing about her time as a student.
Wright, who graduated in 1974, met husband Charles Wright, a 1972 graduate, at one of his football games at Robins Field.
Since then both of their children have graduated from Tupelo High School – Corey in 1999 and Lauren in 2009.
She said they all have fond memories of the school that ties them all together and they continue to support the school system now that they’ve all graduated from it.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said public school support is one thing that makes Tupelo and the school system strong. He declared the High School’s founding day, March 6, Tupelo High School Day in the city.