SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — Thurston High School thought one of its treasured traditions was lost for good, until an alum brought it back to life.
The high school had a traveling bell that went to several school functions. The chiming stopped at those events when it vanished more than a decade ago. Now the school is excited to announce the mystery of the missing bell has been solved.
“I remember going to football games the bell was always present at football games,” said Thurston Alum Brian Tiller.
“It was always present at things; so when it was gone, it was missed,” said Jared Taylor, Thurston Dean of Students.
In the fall of 2001 the beloved Thurston bell, a sort of symbol for school spirit, disappeared.
“We suspected it was one of our rival schools just because it was an event where we were playing that rival school. It just vanished,” Taylor said.
Several years went by.
“You hear all the time about this bell, maybe every three or four months,” Taylor said.
When Thurston alum Brian Tiller stumbled across this metal mascot.
“I was with a friend, I was at a barbeque and I looked over. I could see the blue, there was some red paint and he said ‘you know what that is?’ and I said ‘no’ and he said ‘that’s the Thurston bell,’” Tiller said.
Tiller knew he had to get it back. After three years of negotiating with his friend, he was able to return it to its rightful owner.
“I thought he was joking and then I thought, did he take it?” Tiller said.
Before it was brought back, the bell got a little T.L.C. With some sandblasting and a new paint job, thanks to some generous community members, the spirited sound device was ready to make its debut at the Colts gymnasium.
“Seeing the bell returned is awesome,” Tiller said.
A special homecoming and a tradition reinstated. Hopefully this time, securely.
“I have a feeling we are going to have more security around the bell now then we had in the past. So the kids just have to own the bell. You can tell by the student body’s response at the pep assembly that their excited about the tradition returning to Thurston,” Taylor said.
The group of men who took the bell years ago call themselves the Ghosts of Springfield Past. They said they were ready to return it so Thurston could start new traditions with it.