Before Joplin High School was one entity, there was another school in town by the name of Parkwood High School. It was the home of Brutus the Bear. He was made in 1976 and served as the original mascot for Parkwood High School.
 
“He hung on the wall near the cafeteria. I know he was a point of pride for everybody that went to Parkwood High School,” said Dr. Kerry Sachetta, Joplin Asst. Superintendent.
 
When the two school’s merged, Brutus made the move to the new building, but something happened.
 
“Sometime in the early 2000’s, Brutus disappeared. And he left, don’t know where he went, don’t know who took off with him,” said Dr. Sachetta. 
 
The soul and pride of Parkwood High was missing. Dr. Sachetta vowed to uncover the mystery of the vanishing bear.
 
“So what we did was we kind of narrowed it back from people that thought they had seen Brutus or knew somebody that thought they had. And just by text messaging and just word of mouth, and that kind of thing. We kind of finally got a beat on Brutus,” Dr. Sachetta explained.
 
The bear was found, but not in the best of shape.
 
“Bruce is getting a little medical attention,” he said. 
 
Who better to bring the bear back to life other than the person who made him 40 years ago.
 
“There’s one portion that will have to be refabricated and everything. But, all in all, it’s all there to the most part and just a little bit of clean up and a little bit of putting it back together in places,” said Randy Branham, Brutus’ creator.
 
Dr. Sachetta contacted Branham about refurbishing Brutus. Branham was more than glad to help, and he didn’t have to spend a penny of his own money to see the project through. Former classmates set up a Gofundme page to help pay for the restoration. They raised $1,000 in just 19 hours. 
 
“I’ve heard some say that it’s the last thing that they have left of what was Parkwood. And so, yeah, I get a kick out of reading all the comments on it,” said Branham. 
 
Dr. Sachetta says the bear will be ready this September, just in time for the 40 year reunion of the class of 1976.