Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Mounted on the wall of the school gym is a 6-foot photo of Marcy McCaghren, who died after graduating from East Lawrence High and receiving a mascot scholarship to Wallace State.
Daughter could light up a room — with or without eagle costume, mom says
By Patrice Stewart
Two years ago this week, Marcy Melinda McCaghren held the world by its tail.
She had completed three years as Mac the Eagle, the East Lawrence High School mascot, and then got a scholarship to Wallace State Community College to be its mascot. She played Wally the Lion for nearly all the 2004-05 school year, commuting to Hanceville for classes, basketball games and appearances, since she still lived with her parents, Judy and Roger McCaghren, in East Lawrence.
Between all that and working at Dillard’s and Morgan’s Country Store, she still found time to put on her second Marcy’s Mascot Clinic to help train younger mascots.
On the rainy evening of April 7, 2005, she and her date, Randel Toone, were heading to his parents’ home to watch a movie they’d just rented in Decatur. Both died in the crash with a freight truck full of green beans at the Gordon Terry Parkway intersection near West Morgan High School.
Marcy’s mother’s emotions soar, sink and flutter on eagle’s wings.
These days she divides her time between East Lawrence Memorial Gardens, where she buried her 19-year-old daughter; her job in the computer lab at East Lawrence Middle School; her husband, Roger; and her older daughters Misty and Mandy, and two grandchildren.
The mother comes to the mascot clinic each year with her contributions — goody bags filled with candy, like the ones she used to help Marcy make, and pink and blue T-shirts with the words “Marcy’s Mascot Camp” — but it’s still hard for her to stay and watch the eagle mascots clowning around on the gym floor.
She remembers Marcy at 3, when she got her start as the first “mini-midget mascot” for a young football team.
“Later, from kindergarten through fifth grade, she turned into a cheerleader, but she really liked being a mascot best,” said her mom.
Her sister Mandy was the school mascot about two years before Marcy.
Marcy was the first East Lawrence graduate to go to college as a mascot on a scholarship that paid tuition and fees.
“She didn’t even try out for it; they just saw her perform and were impressed enough to offer it,” said Judy. “Being in the mascot outfit is a sweaty job that you do without makeup, but Marcy did it with a smile. She loved the children and throwing candy at ball games, and she liked the mischievous part of it.”
However, she planned to study nursing, and just before her death, she had given up her mascot duties to make more time for her rigorous second-year studies.
“I don’t mean to put her on a pedestal, but she had a lot of special qualities, and I can’t stand the thought of people forgetting her,” said her mother. With or without a costume, “She could come into a room and light it up.”
Save $84.50 a year off our newsstand price:
Subscribe today for only 38 cents a day!