Education

Houston-area school district hopeful to unveil record-breaking mum Friday

The mum has at least 4,000 flowers and more than 150 feet of ribbons.

Oak Ridge High School's mum will be showcased at their football game Friday.
Ashley Wilson
Oak Ridge High School’s mum will be showcased at their football game Friday.

A Houston-area school district is aiming to be the biggest in a classic Texas homecoming tradition.

Students at Oak Ridge High School in Conroe are joining the race to build the world’s largest homecoming mum, and more than a dozen students have collectively spent over a month working on the effort.

“We have to go really big if we want to break this record,” Ashley Wilson, an agriculture-science teacher at Oak Ridge High School said while the project was a little over halfway finished. Wilson has been at the forefront of the idea that was originally concocted last year. She said the mum, 25 feet in diameter has more than 150 feet of ribbon alone and holds more than 4,000 flowers.

An essential emblem of the Texas high school experience, mums are large and colorful arrangements of flowers and ribbons usually worn around the neck by high schoolers ahead of a homecoming football game and accompanying homecoming dance. Ringing true to the “everything is bigger in Texas” proverb, they’ve only gotten larger and flashier.

Oak Ridge High School’s completed mum will be unveiled at the school’s football game on Friday, when the flower-filled structure will be hoisted up in the air by a giant crane, and a land surveyor will come out to take measurements of the mum that’s expected to break the world record.

Arlington Independent School District holds that record now, according to Guinness World Record. That district’s 119-foot mum is flowing with sparkly pink ribbons and white boas. Crafted in an effort to spread awareness of breast cancer, the structure took the title of biggest mum in 2021.

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Arlington Independent School District

Now students at Oak Ridge High School are hopeful their corsage will top that. Pieces of their monstrous mum will get a proper police escort to the football field on Friday ahead of the unveiling.

“This mum is wider than a car lane,” Wilson said. “It is huge.”

Oscar Aguirre, a senior at Oak Ridge had a part in welding the chicken wire structure of the mum before flowers were tied on. When he was first approached about the project, he said he wasn’t immediately sure what a mum was.

“If I had to guess now, I’ve dedicated maybe 60 hours or more to the project,” Aguirre said.

Now he’s excited to see his hours of work come to fruition during the ceremony on Friday.

“When that day comes, I will be excited when they get the crane and hold it up,” he said. “But I am hoping that everyone else gets that joy of seeing it, and how big it is and how amazing it looks.”

The race to be crowned the mother of all corsages is tight, with Lewisville High School near Dallas unveiling what they said would be the record-breaking mum last week. A truly Texas sized mum, the maroon, white and silver structure was 37.5 feet long and measured roughly 290 square feet, The Dallas Morning News reported.

Abby Mason, a junior at Oak Ridge got involved in the mum project in her floral design class. She said she is feeling hopeful ahead of the unveiling.

“I am really excited,” she said. “We have been working on this since basically the first week of school so it’s really exciting to see it all come together.”

Wilson, her teacher, saw unlikely students come together for the project she said has strengthened the school’s bond.

“I think that the whole world came to the point where we were so separated during COVID,” she said. “It has been a really cool thing to teach the kids that a community and a school can come together to create such a big project.”

Ashley Wilson stands next to the uncompleted mum.
Ashley Wilson
Ashley Wilson, an agriculture science teacher at Oak Ridge High School stands next to the uncompleted mum.

The unveiling will take place Friday night when Oak Ridge High School is expected to face off with Caney Creek High School. Kick off will take place 7 p.m. at 27330 Oak Ridge School Rd.