James Clemens High School set to unveil refurbished fighter jet as new mascot
MADISON – The Highland Group, in collaboration with NOLA VanPeursem Architects and Madison City Schools, announced this week the unveiling of a refurbished TF-9J fighter jet at James Clemens High School on September 14. This historic project, which has seen the transformation of a Vietnam War era flight trainer jet into the school’s mascot, will be revealed to the public at a special event following their homecoming parade.
The TF-9J, formerly recognized as the F9F-8T, has a rich history spanning back to the Vietnam War era. Although it never engaged in combat, it played a crucial role as an advanced flight trainer. Notably, this iconic aircraft was also a part of the esteemed flying squadron of the Navy, the Blue Angels. Adding to its remarkable journey, in 2014, this historical marvel found a new home when it was acquired by the City of Madison Board of Education on loan from the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum.
The jet has since undergone extensive refurbishment, led by master craftsman Randy Beavers, with the support of James Clemens High School’s junior ROTC members, shop students, and many others throughout the years. This project, driven by the community’s passion for aeronautics and education, was made possible by support from Northrop Grumman and numerous community donors.
As James Clemens High School enters the final phase of this project, a second donor drive has been launched. Community members and businesses are encouraged to contribute and leave their mark on this commemorative endeavor with donation options beginning at $50. To become a legacy donor, visit the Madison City Schools’ page at https://madisoncityk12-al.leanstreamrp.com/district/need/354.
The unveiling event is set to take place immediately following the James Clemens High School homecoming parade (beginning at 5:00 PM) on Thursday, September 14th, with the grand reveal of the refurbished TF-9J mascot expected around 6:00 PM. All are invited to join in celebrating this significant milestone and witness a piece of history come to life at the school.
This initiative forms part of an ongoing series of enhancements at James Clemens High School, which includes significant upgrades to the athletic facilities, football fields, track area, and baseball and softball complexes. Another major project underway is the construction of a cutting-edge indoor practice facility. Spanning an impressive 10,000 square feet, this facility aims to provide a year-round, climate-controlled training environment for our student-athletes, complete with indoor batting cages and locker rooms.
For more information regarding the unveiling, please visit the James Clemens High School website (https://www.madisoncity.k12.al.us/jchs). Their campus is located at 11306 County Line Rd, Madison, Alabama 35756. For more information about The Highland Group projects, please visit www.highlandgroup.org.