Lycée Martin celebrates the 100th edition of La Pitahaya

Flipping through the pages of the Martin High School yearbook is like flipping through the history of Laredo from the perspective of MHS alumni. The 2022 release of the Martin High School yearbook “La Pitahaya” marks the publication’s centennial edition. After two years overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, MHS believes this year’s edition is more essential than ever.

The first edition of La Pitahaya dates back to 1916 as Laredo’s first yearbook. Martin High School, formerly known as Laredo High School, was Laredo’s first school. It was founded downtown in 1916 on the site of the current La Posada hotel. In 1937, Laredo High School was moved to San Bernardo Avenue and renamed Martin High School. It was the only public high school in Laredo from 1937 until 1964, when JW Nixon High School opened in The Heights neighborhood.

“After the Great Depression, the yearbook was not published for five years, from 1931 to 1936. We do not count this discrepancy. The 1937 edition shines a light on wartime, you can see how it changed when advanced technology was first introduced,” said Laura Hovel, MHS yearbook sponsor and vocational education teacher and technical.

The name “La Pitahaya” is inspired by the yearbook “The Cactus” of the University of Texas. As the first high school established in Laredo, Tigerland wanted to emulate its heritage by following the steps of UT. A pitahaya is the flower of a cactus, which grows warmly in Webb County.

The 2022 edition captures through narrative key highlights of Tigerland’s 100-year history and provides context for past, present and future challenges. “We are still making a yearbook for this special class of graduating students, but we have this great story. We represent every book ever produced. We are going with a vintage touch for this edition, but with modern trappings,” Hovel said. “I think it’s going to be a great book. It’s already bigger than any other book we’ve produced, in terms of content and pages.

The previous 2021 edition featured the struggles of the city of Laredo during a global pandemic. With a shiny silver cover, the pages reflect the perseverance of each student as they virtually learn through difficulty. “So that no student is on campus, it really is a fabulous book. It reflects the reality of the unfortunate things that have happened in the world and in our city. The blanket looks like a steel box in honor of the strength of our students,” Hovel said.

The 2022 Special Edition contains QR codes to watch related videos in the directory. Administration, parents and students may be able to reenact the memories they made in the halls of Tigerland.

“The challenge for this yearbook was to study each edition. I’m watching the 90s right now. I can see how Halloween pep rallies and the very first district games have evolved, but have traditionally remained the same. It’s pretty cool,” said Alexis Rico, senior and MHS yearbook photographer and editor. “We’re going big for this one. This edition will capture everything from the clubs to the backstage. This will definitely be the best edition. Hope everyone enjoys”

Additionally, MHS is looking for copies of the 1918 and 1919 yearbooks to complete its collection. “They should be given to school. We have to keep that alive,” Hovel said.

For more information, please contact MHS Directory Sponsor Laura Hovel at (956) 273-7283.

Grover Z. Barnes