By Bonita Wilborn
Students at Scottsboro High School arrived at school on Wednesday, April 4, to face the sad fact that their beloved 200-year-old tree, one that has been the center of many celebrations since the school opened in the year 2000, had been severely damaged by storms that blew through Jackson County the night before.
Several large limbs were ripped off the tree during the storm, revealing a hollow center that questioned the health of the tree and if it will survive this event that quite literally split the tree in half. Caution tape was placed around the area for safety purposes, and experts were called in to make the determination if the remaining portion of the tree can be saved.
The tree has survived many years of winds from storms, and 18 first days of school. It has served as Scottsboro High School’s unofficial mascot. One student commented, “I have several school shirts that have the tree on the pocket or on the back.”
When time for celebrating has come around, whether it be a state championship, a track meet, or simply a week of awareness for one thing or another, students have taken rolls of toilet paper and liberally decorated the tree. “I think for any senior the favorite time to roll the tree is the day before school starts. It’s kind of a right of passage for a Scottsboro senior,” another student added.
Principal Brad Dudley said, “They’ve rolled this tree somewhere around 47 times. People at Auburn celebrate Toomer’s Corner and at the Masters they have the Eisenhower tree. This is our tree.”
Although school officials say they’re working on trying to save what’s left of the tree, Scottsboro High School students want to make sure everyone remembers the legacy it leaves behind; an annual tradition of arriving on the first day of school to see that the tree has been rolled.