Grandview Elementary students begin the walk back to their classrooms after an assembly revealed their latest mascot near the football field. (Photos by Max Hrenda/Johnson City Press)
Almost two weeks into this school year, one Washington County school hosted a special event to help its students’ school spirit soar.
During a special outdoor assembly for the students Friday afternoon, Grandview Elementary faculty and staff members unveiled the latest fixture to the school’s football/soccer field — a 15-by-25-foot picture of an eagle, the school’s mascot.
Grandview staff combined their efforts with members of the community and even a few students to create the eagle, which rests on the hill overlooking the field. According to Grandview Principal Sandra Hayes, the assembly was held to commemorate both the eagle itself and the beginning of the 2014 school year.
“It gets your school year started off to the happy start that you want,” Hayes said. “The children are excited about the day, and they get to come outside and enjoy the fresh air. It’s wonderful.”
In addition to warm, sunny weather, the students were also treated to ice pops to make the assembly all the sweeter. The assembly itself was conducted by the school’s music teacher, Mark Merriman, who provided students with some of the backstory behind the mascot’s creation.
“Last spring, the topic of putting our mascot, the eagle, at the football field-slash-soccer field was discussed,” Merriman said. “After many hours of preparation and many, many hours of hard, fun work, our eagle, your eagle, is complete. (Are) you guys ready to see it?”
Despite receiving a resounding “yes” from the students — along with chants of “Open it!” — Merriman kept his audience waiting as he described some of the mascot’s details.
“It is actually a puzzle,” he said. “There are a lot of different pieces.”
Though, from a distance, the mascot appears to be a solid piece, it is comprised of 25 3-by-5-foot cement boards to form the Grandview eagle. According to Hayes, the mascot’s designer, Vaughn Burgess, planned on making it sectional and, even during the construction process, workers were unsure as to how all the pieces would fit together.
“(Burgess) drew it like a puzzle,” Hayes said. “When we painted it, we only had little sections to paint. We didn’t really know what our section was until we put it together.”
The puzzle is contained by a wooden frame that was designed by Ron Barkley, whose wife, Melanie, teaches first grade at Grandview. The Barkleys also built the frame, along with their two children, Isaac and Morgan.
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