The “A” on Mount Franklin is one of Austin High School’s oldest traditions. In the fall of 1931, Gordon Gunn and John Clary outlined and whitewashed the “A” on the mountain. The whitewashing of the “A” was not sponsored by the school, but was welcomed by the student body.
The members of the Panther Association were the original keepers of the “A.” These industrious boys were responsible for maintaining the “A” on the mountain and for lighting the “A” during all home football games. When the Panther Association was dissolved, the “A” Club continued the tradition of lighting and maintaining the “A.” In 1963, Phi Chi under the sponsorship of Mr. Donald Hutchings took over the responsibilities.
There is currently no student group or organization responsible for carrying on this tradition. A small group of exes led by Randy Gschwind, class of ’76, worked hard to revive the tradition. Randy organized a groups of students and exes to climb the mountain to clean up the area around the “A” and to whitewash the “A” with the goal of lighting it for every home football game.
This tradition is difficult to keep alive because the school cannot sponsor the activity. Randy has received permission from the owner of the land and from the El Paso Fire Department to light the “A”; however, the greatest hindrances to this endeavor are costs and manpower due to the high costs and yearly increases of fuel.
The association appreciates Randy’s efforts and those of the students from the Sandra Day O’Connor Criminal Justice/Public Service Academy, plus the alumni who have climbed the mountain to give the “A” a shiny and clean whitewash. Thank you for your hard work!
Please contact the association if you are interested in helping with a donation for the lighting of the “A”, or if you would like to climb the mountain and help clean and/or light the “A.”