The pupils at Murphey Middle School could not contain their laughter Monday after hearing what the school's mascot used to be.
The Murphey Blue Jays.
"I bet I know why it was changed," Assistant Superintendent Patricia Burau told pupils during a Monday assembly. "It didn't have a fierce sound when you ran on the field, did it?"
Over the years, the school changed from Blue Jays to Demons to Mavericks.
Pupils got quite a history lesson Monday during a celebration of the school's 50th anniversary, which included an assembly and a visit from a descendant of Edward Emasa Murphey, for whom the school is named.
"Edward E. Murphey's legacy is this school," said Alice Murphey-Perrin, his granddaughter. "In his adult years, he dedicated vast amounts of time, energy and money to educating all the children of Richmond County. You are an important part of this legacy and help to keep his dream alive."
Parents, former pupils and community leaders joined the school to mark the anniversary. Pupils participated by singing, reading essays and beating drums. The school's step team danced while chanting a birthday song.
Justin Pauly, assistant to Augusta Mayor Bob Young, read a proclamation declaring Monday as "50 Years of Excellence Day," and three pupils read their award-winning essays on what being a Murphey Maverick means to them.
"I've wanted to go to this school ever since third grade. When I got here, it was fun," pupil Sierra Dorsey said. "Most of my family went here. ... They said they were happy to go to Murphey also."
Former Murphey pupil Amber Prince went to the assembly and then looked over memorabilia in the media center. She attended the Augusta school in the early 1990s and said much has changed, including a new gym, a fancier front office and a refurbished cafeteria. But some things haven't changed.
"Some of my teachers are still here," she said. "A whole lot of them have turned gray."
Murphey Middle School is named for Edward Emasa Murphey. Here is his background, compiled by granddaughter Alice Murphey-Perrin:
Born Sept. 2, 1870, to Martha Melinda May and William Gibbs Murphey, Edward was the fourth of 10 children, three of whom died at infancy.
He was a direct descendant of Nicholas Murphey, a ranger with Gen. James Oglethorpe in 1726, who settled in Augusta. He also was the great-great-grandson of Edmund Murphey, the only person known to have escaped when the White House in Augusta was stormed by the British in 1780 and 13 revolutionaries were hanged.
Edward and his siblings attended Richmond County schools. He married Ida Maria Hall on Dec. 27, 1896, and the couple had five children. He was an industrious businessman and farmer, and he was active in the church and community.
He gave a land grant to replace the old rock school, which became Sue Reynolds Elementary. At the time, he was a member of the Richmond County Board of Education.
In 1917, his homestead, along with others in the community, was selected as a desirable location for expanding Camp Hancock, near what is now Daniel Field. He relinquished his property and moved to Mann Memorial Community on U.S. Highway 78. In his memory, the Edward E. Murphey Junior High School was built on part of this estate.
Edward died Dec. 11, 1918, three days after being struck by a car while returning home from a church service.
Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org. WHAT'S IN A NAME