Pond has interesting past

Story by Jacob Hill and John David Goins, Staff Writer & News Editor

The pond, though a beautiful addition to the campus landscaping, has been a target for student pranks for quite some time. Since the building of the current campus in 1967, stories have circulated about plunges into the murky water.

Additionally, there have been slight changes to the structure since its early days. The early pond included a fountain and was home to several ducks.

Despite these transformations, the pond’s legacy reaches out to the students who have taken glorious dives that launched them into Tiger history.

Most of the stories about the pond’s past center around the notorious “freshmen plunge.” These have been gathering since 1968 when apparently being thrown into the pond was a form of initiation. Karen Lansdell, class of ‘77, shares her story.

“It was routine for freshmen to be thrown into the pond,” Lansell said. “Luckily for me, my sister wouldn’t let them throw me in the pond, but I was sure swung and led to think I was going for a swim.”

Robert Bunch from the class of ‘77 shared his story in a Facebook post. “I remember taking a swim in that same pond our senior year. It was on the way to lunch, while running I looked up to see where I was parked. I then realized I was running in mid-air. I landed in the water and went completely under. I swam to the other side crawled out and went home to change.”

Some may even remember when students found a 10-foot alligator protruding from the pond on Feb. 20, 1984. As students and teachers gathered around the animal, teacher Audrey Martin-Henderson made sure the creature was dead, then had her six strongest students lug the beast through the school and into her classroom, a story in the 1984 yearbook reports.

Superintendent Paul Norton said the pond is something that makes the campus unique.

“I love the pond, and I love what it brings to THS,” Norton said. “We have talked for years about different things we could do incorporating the pond into different events and some classes have used it for educational purposes.”

Norton said there was some discussion about whether to eliminate the pond when the math and science building was constructed.

“It was a topic that was approached at the time,” Norton said, “but the feeling was to keep it because it brought something special to THS and a lot of alumni, etc, expressed a desire for the pond to stay.”

At present, Norton said there has not been any discussion on filling it in.

Austin Byrd’s plunge was yet another blimp into the pond’s past, and hopefully, for the sake of tradition and student prosperity, new traditions will continue, but in new directions.