Teacher remembered for helping with prank

Thomas Garcia

Memories of years past were shared between Rattler alumni but it was the high jinx of the class of 1980 that stole the show.

Over 450 Rattler alumni gathered at the Tucumcari Convention Center for the closing banquet of the Rattler Reunion.

“I was very pleased with the turnout this year,” said Pam Clark, reunion organizer.

Clark said one of the banquet’s presenters, Robert Lumpkin, shared with the banquet’s attendants a memory he had as the sponsor for the class of 1980.

Lumpkin told the crowd about a time when four members of the class of 1980, Phil Clark, Warren Frost, Randy Mullenix and Dave Teague, stole a water fountain from the high school. He said the students had placed tape over one of the locks of the doors. They returned at night and took a water fountain that had not been working.

Lumpkin said the fountain was taken to one of their friends who painted a rattler on the front of the water fountain along with a class of 1980 logo. He said the students were then stuck trying to figure out a way to get the fountain back into the school.

“When we took the water fountain, the plan was to have it painted and returned,” Frost said. “The problem was that they were on to us. Someone discovered we had taped the door. We now needed someone with a key to the building to return the fountain.”

Frost said it was that Sunday when they approached Lumpkin to return the fountain. Lumpkin said that he must have been a trusted teacher to them. He said he was living on Second Street at the time. While he was watching TV, he noticed movement around his truck. He witnessed the four boys place the fountain in the back of his truck.

“How many teachers would do what he did? He helped out four students who were trying to return stolen property to the school,” Frost said.

As a tribute to Lumpkin, Frost, Clark, Mullinex and Teague presented him with a water fountain which had been painted exactly like the one which had been taken all those years ago.

“It was a symbol to show how much we appreciated his friendship and guidance,” Frost said. “He was a good man and great teacher.”

“It is hard to describe how I felt when they presented me with the fountain,” Lumpkin said. “It really touched me that those students remembered me that way. For a teacher, it is a great compliment to be remembered like that.”