The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

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Tennessee Homeschool Advocates Denounce Paducah Tilghman Tradition

Welcome back, PT! We are about 4 weeks into the school year and have already had some exciting things going on. Mayfield week was in full swing and has just wrapped up. This valued tradition has dated all the way back to 1911 and after a 17-year losing streak, the Tilghman football team showed up and showed out, finally shutting down the Cardinals.

We have always taken pride in Mayfield week, however, the energy from students and staff this year was unmatched. Before everyone’s favorite week of the year started, our Pep Club leaders, Jane Taylor, Jamey Harris, and Bella Rose Brown, decided on our spirit week themes. Monday has always traditionally been ‘‘Doomsday’’ where we mourn the loss of ‘‘Mr. Mayfield.’’ However, we switched things up this year and instead of making a cardinal mascot, we made a human mascot placed in a coffin as Mayfield does to “Mr. Tilghman.” Throughout the week students and teachers decorated our halls to prepare for the Mayfield bike riders. Our own students took on the 20-mile ride as well. To finish off the school week, we had our pep rally with the burning of “Mr. Mayfield.” This tradition gets almost every Tilghman student enthusiastic for the big game. We all come together for one common goal and give our football team the upmost support. It is truly amazing to witness, especially knowing that we came out of it with a win.

Although safety precautions have always been taken for this 100+ year old tradition and we have never had intentions of physically harming anyone from Mayfield, however, to Facebook group “Free YOUR Children,” our tradition is “sick.” On September 2nd, a day following the football game, a post was made to the Facebook page that currently has 784 comments and 283 shares. The post consists of photos taken during our pep rally and the caption states, “This was posted by a TEACHER at Paducah Tilghman High School (in KY) on Facebook. She’s excited about rival week and said that all the students signed the coffin. More photos in the comments from the school’s Facebook page.” Supporters of the page made comments such as, “This is disgusting! Parents need to wake up and see their kids are being desensitized.” The supporters of this page believe that the burning of Mayfield’s mascot is promoting violence in our school. The holder of the Facebook page is based out of Tennessee and has no correlation to Paducah Tilghman or Mayfield. It is also evident that the post is very one-sided as nothing was mentioned about Mayfield High School’s same traditions. The comment section consists of many misconceptions regarding our school and even articles from past events that have no relevance to Mayfield week. Although the comments are flooded with negative comments from people that know nothing about our school, there are also many people from our community defending Tilghman’s traditions. One comment states, “This is the biggest rivalry in West Ky, we have always done this. We had Mr. Tilghman in a casket as well. After the tornado, football is what helped us stay normal because it’s the one thing the tornado didn’t get. People need to calm down and let the teams have fun for once.” This rivalry brings our communities together through friendly competition even if it doesn’t seem that way to outsiders looking in. WPSD-Local 6 News has also covered this story in a positive way that includes an interview with our superintendent, Dr. Donald Shively.

Hopefully the negativity and backlash this year doesn’t stop Paducah Tilghman and Mayfield from participating in this week of fun rivalry. Neither school has ill intentions with the burning of the mascots. We show pride for our school and that alone will never change.

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