By Makala Finley
With new state-of-the-art infrastructure, the campus is slowly evolving into what looks like a college campus. Aside from the new buildings, newly-thought-out landscaped areas are beginning to make an appearance. While driving through the front “circle,” students and parents may notice a newly-designed area known as “The Victory Garden.” The new area features two plaques, landscaped flowers, and a sidewalk to enhance the side of the library. To add to the college vibe, a JM symbol is under the works to light up whenever a sports team brings home a victory. Though covered in pea gravel at this time, eventually paver will be added to the victory garden, and students and alumni will be able to purchase a piece of pavement with their names and graduations year. The Victory Garden was made possible by Joeris, the company who also built the new fine arts facility, athletic complex and the the AG area. They provided Madison with this new garden at no cost.
“It was nice of Joeris to do this for us, however it’s kind of the right thing to do since construction was kinda held back,” senior Dallas Campbell said. “It definitely makes the campus more unique compared to other schools.”
Featured in the Victory Garden are two plaques. One plaque is dedicated dedicated to a 1999 Madison graduate, Lance Graham, who was killed in the line of duty at Desert Storm. The other is dedicated to the Class of 1989 and the late Principal Youngham who worked at Madison and then Central Office. He was killed in a boating accident.
The Victory Garden doesn’t just add beautification to the Maverick campus, it also provides students with insight to where Madison has come from.
“I just feel it [the Victory Garden] represents tradition and history. We’re coming up on 40 years of history and students should know historical significance,” principal Chris Thompson said. “Plus, it’s prettier.”
In addition to the Victory Garden is also the new amphitheater known as The Gilmore. This newly-built theater building represents a story of unity. “The Gilmore” got its name from the story of George and Polly Gilmore, once enslaved African Americans who were given the opportunity of a lifetime courtesy of James and Dolly Madison. After emancipation, George Gilmore got the opportunity to lease land from Dr. James Madison in the late 1860s. By 1870, the Gilmores had built a cabin and then in the early 1900s they had finally purchased 16 acres of land from Madison. Eventually, a plaque will be added to the amphitheater and it will explain the significance of the name in concurrence with what Madison stands for.
” It’s a place where we all come together. That is what this family did; they established unity. Unity, equity, whatever you may call it, it’s what we are,” Thompson said.
Adminstrators have high hopes for the message that is portrayed through The Gilmore.
“It will signify the inclusive nature of the James Madison High School and what we stand for, and what our founding fathers stood for,” Assistant Principal Joseph Williams said.