Marietta High starts year on a roll!
by Hilary Butschek
August 07, 2014 04:00 AM | 5295 views | 11 11 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students arrived Wednesday morning at Marietta High for the first day of school and were greeted by the residue of a rolling attack by an estimated 5,000 rolls of toilet paper. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Students arrived Wednesday morning at Marietta High for the first day of school and were greeted by the residue of a rolling attack by an estimated 5,000 rolls of toilet paper.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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Dalton Brans begins the tedious task of dragging down the streamers of toilet paper the senior class tossed all over the campus.
Dalton Brans begins the tedious task of dragging down the streamers of toilet paper the senior class tossed all over the campus.
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Phillip Colburn, Marietta High School senior and son of Principal Leigh Colburn, steadies himself in a campus oak tree right outside the front doors of the school, as he retrieves parts of the toilet paper scattered by the senior class on the campus just after midnight. The annual tradition of ‘Rolling the School’ ended with Principal Colburn sending the class out to clean up the mess after the bell rang.
Phillip Colburn, Marietta High School senior and son of Principal Leigh Colburn, steadies himself in a campus oak tree right outside the front doors of the school, as he retrieves parts of the toilet paper scattered by the senior class on the campus just after midnight. The annual tradition of ‘Rolling the School’ ended with Principal Colburn sending the class out to clean up the mess after the bell rang.
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Students enter the front doors of Marietta High School.
Students enter the front doors of Marietta High School.
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Senior Brad King laughs out loud as he see the campus Wednesday morning.
Senior Brad King laughs out loud as he see the campus Wednesday morning.
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Before sending the seniors out with trash bags to clean up the school, Principal Colburn jokingly acknowledges the 2015 senior class didn’t miss many spots on campus with their early morning toilet paper raid Wednesday.
Before sending the seniors out with trash bags to clean up the school, Principal Colburn jokingly acknowledges the 2015 senior class didn’t miss many spots on campus with their early morning toilet paper raid Wednesday.
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A clever sign left by members of the senior class at Marietta High School greets all students and staff on the first day of the new year.
A clever sign left by members of the senior class at Marietta High School greets all students and staff on the first day of the new year.
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Locals couldn’t say how the decades-old tradition of seniors covering Marietta High School in toilet paper began, but the class of 2015 made sure it continued.

About 200 seniors gathered at the high school at midnight before the first day of school Wednesday to cover the campus of Marietta High with toilet paper until it looked like snow. Yards and yards of toilet paper hung from the branches of every tree around the school. A banner was hanging from the front of the building that read “Class of 2015. We do it better.”

“It’s more paper than I’ve ever seen before,” said Principal Leigh Colburn.

Colburn, who has been principal for 10 years, has seen the results of the tradition each year. But this time the tradition hit close to home. Colburn’s son, Phillip, is a senior at the school. He said he tried to sneak out of the house Tuesday night to participate in the prank without his mother knowing.

“She didn’t know until the dogs woke her up when I left,” he said.

Colburn treated her son just as she did every other senior Wednesday morning, and their punishment was to clean up the paper.

The tradition has been ongoing since the ’60s, Colburn said, and she knows it will happen every year as a rite of passage for the students.

“As a principal, you have to learn how to balance what crosses the line and what doesn’t,” Colburn said.

Colburn can’t be too starkly opposed to the prank because she rolled the school when she graduated from Marietta High School in 1983.

“What they did (Wednesday) was so much bigger than what we did,” Colburn said.

Senior class co-publicists Annie Martin and Neal Majors said they bought 1,000 rolls of toilet paper together, and they required every student who wanted to participate to bring 50 rolls with them. The two estimated students used 5,000 rolls to cover the school.

“We mostly told people to come through word of mouth,” Majors said. “As publicists, this is pretty much our job — to put this event on.”

Elizabeth Osoinach, class president, said she rallied the seniors to be competitive and do it better than before.

“We just told everyone to bring 50 rolls and bring their school spirit,” Osoinach said.

Colburn said the prank is tolerated because it doesn’t produce any lasting damage, and it creates a good moment of bonding and community for the school.

“For (the students), it’s more of a celebration of school spirit and to get excited for the first day of school,” Colburn said.

The principal told senior students who participated they would have to clean up the mess even if that meant staying after school hours or on the weekend to get it done.

“The epic cleanup has begun,” Colburn announced Wednesday morning.

Associate Superintendent Dayton Hibbs said students know the consequences of rolling the school.

“They know up front what they’re getting into — that they’ll have to clean it up,” Hibbs said.

Jill Mutimer, a member of the Marietta School Board, said this year’s class had it easy. When she rolled the school as a senior in 1984, the principal at the time, Herb Garrett, made the senior class come to school at 5 a.m. the next morning to clean it up.

Mutimer was impressed with this morning’s results.

“I think that’s about the best I’ve seen,” Mutimer said.

Before Mutimer rolled the school, Marietta Councilman Grif Chalfant said he did it in 1965.

“What we did was minor league compared to this one. This was the big time,” Chalfant said.

Chalfant and Mutimer both said they didn’t know when or how the tradition started, but they know it will continue.

Members of the class of 2015 spent the first half of Wednesday cleaning up the trails of toilet paper hanging from the tops of trees to the ground on dozens of trees around the school. One student turned on the stereo in his car, rolled down the windows and provided a radio soundtrack for the cleaning crew that morning, turning the cleanup into more of a party than a punishment.

Students didn’t seem too concerned about the work ahead of them.

“We were kind of banking on this time out of class to clean up the mess,” said senior Ivy Shannon.

Colburn said the students had cleaned most of the paper up by noon Wednesday.

Marietta Middle School Principal Forrestella Taylor said the class of 2015 was under her watch when the seniors were freshman three years ago because she was assistant principal of the ninth grade at Marietta High School in 2011.

“That was my freshman class. I was so proud of them when I saw it,” Taylor said. “They were rock stars from the beginning.”

Junior Earl McKinney didn’t even stop to look around on his way into the school Wednesday morning because the tradition has become the norm.

“You kind of expect it now,” McKinney said.

Leigh Ann Worden, whose daughter, Anna, started at the school as a freshman Wednesday, said she had never experienced the tradition before.

“We think that’s the cool thing about Marietta High School,” said Leigh Ann Worden, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Marietta. “It has so many traditions, and we haven’t even begun to know them all.”

Comments
(11)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Oh Come On....
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August 15, 2014
What do you bet that Try, Dumb, Just Wait, Watcher, and WhatAWaste are all the same person...... Id say the same person who REALLY, REALLY needs to get a life.....
kennysawyer
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August 08, 2014
So the class of 2015 went " above and beyond ". That sounds like you would like for them to revive a Medal of Honor. Sorry my friend, in most people's mind this is a dumb tradition. 17 year old kids are at the age where they should give up childish pranks.
Try..
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August 07, 2014
less TP, and strive for a higher graduation rate.
Watcher...
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August 07, 2014
I wonder how much classroom time was lost because of this "Tradition."
Dumb...
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August 07, 2014
tradition.
Just Wait
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August 07, 2014
Just what are they promoting by allowing a criminal act to take place in the name of tradition?
kennysawyer
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August 07, 2014
In my opinion, this is a total wast of time and money. Think of how many school lunches could have been bought or how many wounded warriors could have been helped with this money spent on toilet paper. You kids should really be proud of of the legacy you are leaving by this stupid stunt.
Gringo Bandito
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August 07, 2014
How many school lunches could have been bought with the money you spent this month on internet access?
allingoodfun
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August 07, 2014
Good grief...you had to pull out 'Wounded Warriors' in your post?! We all know that it's a noble cause to support, but why did you mention it in a story that involves 17 year olds that are trying to continue a tradition from 50 years?

Sure, it'd be nice to recycle all of that toilet paper, and I hope they did. You must not be an avid reader of the MDJ because this has been going on since Moby Dick was a minnow. Let them have their fun. This Class of 2015 went above and beyond. It's actually a positive story amongst all of the negative crap we've been getting these days.

I've got a great idea. Why don't you spearhead a bake sale at MHS and all of the proceeds from the lovingly prepared and yummy baked goods will go towards feeding the hungry and towards the WW. Oh...wait...Michelle Obama says we can't do that anymore.
WhatAWaste.......
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August 07, 2014
Of a really valuable resource...
Great job seniors
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August 07, 2014
I have been driving by the school for 19 years on the way to work. Definitely the best TP job in all those years. It looked like winter wonderland! Good job, and good luck this year!
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