Painting tradition continues to rock rivalry

SHS head custodian drills into the the story of the rock


Madison Gomez

The painting of the rocks at SHS and Perry Meridian has been going on for generations. Head custodian John Lefevers, using a drill bit, measured the paint on the side of the rock and found it to be 3.5 inches thick.

Madison Gomez, Reporter

When referencing to “the rock,” students and staff in Perry Township know that the lump of minerals covered in various layers of paint is the one that is being referred to. The rock that sits outside the main offices of both high schools is a symbol of each high school, and is often painted by students from the opposing school.

SHS head janitor John Lefevers has been doing groundskeeping for 20 years at SHS and has been working inside the building for the last five years. Using a drill, Lefevers attempted to see how thick the paint was knowing that the drill would automatically stop when it hit the rock, giving a clear look into the paint anatomy of the rock. He estimated the paint to be about 2 inches thick or less. When he drilled into the rock, the paint ended up being about 2.5 inches deep on top and about 3.5 inches deep on the sides. The drill head had to be thrown away, but it solved the mystery of how thick the paint is.

“(The painting of the rock) has been going on for years… It’s been out there for as long as I can remember,” said Lefevers.

While painting the rocks at SHS and Perry Meridian High School has become a district-wide tradition, there are some implied limitations that come with it.

SHS junior Emily Chambers is one of the new booster club members for the 17-18 school year. Since Booster Club members of the past have painted the rock, Booster Club advisor Sam Hanley suggested the students paint the rock. On April 1, the students met at PMHS at 10 p.m., spray painted the rock red and laughed as Perry kids drove by and said mean things, but “we were the ones with the paint,” Chambers said.

“We (Booster Club) weren’t close or anything… but it was cool to do it as a team.”

Lefevers once witnessed a group of Perry kids, many years ago, with levers and pulleys attempting to steal the entire rock. They were unsuccessful, however the act was not forgotten by students at SHS. A group of SHS students then decided to attempt and steal Perry’s rock, and using the same strategy of taking the rock away, they succeeded and took the entire rock and placed it in the stadium.

“I think the rock is really there so the kids don’t do stuff to the school,”  Lefevers said.

Although students are permitted to paint the rock, there are some limitations that SHS has in place.

“While students use the rock as a friendly rivalry with other schools, we always expect appropriateness in any content with the rock (for example, no lewd or vulgar words),” assistant principal Amy Boone wrote in an email to The Journal.

Boone also wrote that she has not heard of any chances that would effect the rules of the painting of the rock, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t or won’t change in the future.