On March 23, Turkey Creek Middle School celebrated 140 years of excellence with a celebration of the past and present.
The morning began with a ceremony that included guest speaker Sonny Jones, former principal of Plant City High School, who graduated from Turkey Creek School in 1949 when it still included a high school. During the ceremony, minutes were read from the school board meeting that officially recognized the institution as a school in 1873; a time capsule to be opened in 2073 was presented; and the school band played Turkey Creek Middle School’s alma mater, which was set to the tune of “Danny Boy.”
Assistant Principal Jaclyn Rowehl explained that celebrating the school's 140th anniversary is a huge milestone.
“Some of our students’ parents came here, their grandparents came here, and in some cases their great-grandparents came here,” she said.
Following the ceremony was a festival that included Decades Booths that detailed the school's history, campus tours, a museum of artifacts with slide show, plus a bounce house in the gymnasium.
Although it was first recognized as a school in 1873, local tradition dates the start of the school back10 years prior to a single log cabin in 1863 — the same year President Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation.
But the present and future were just as much a part of the ceremony as the past. “Students, this event is designed so that you can see that you're a part of something special,” said Principal Dennis Mayo, addressing a room full of both current and past students.
“It's very cool to celebrate our history with our current students,” said Rowehl. “That's the coolest part, to mix our present and our history and to celebrate it all.”