Turtles, tortoises once a constant fixture now vacant from Delphi

Mr. Brannan poses with George the tortoise, getting ready to wash him in the janitor's closet behind the Little Theater. (circa 2006)

photo provided from '06 DCHS Yearbook

Mr. Brannan poses with George the tortoise, getting ready to wash him in the janitor's closet behind the Little Theater. (circa 2006)

Jordan Ladd, editor

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For many attending DCHS, the pond located in the middle of the school has been a constant fixture. Often taken for granted, the pond is host to a wide array of fish, and is a spot where students can congregate in the LMC, working on homework, completing puzzles, or visiting with friends. However, a few years ago, some valuable members of the pond disappeared and seem to have been forgotten in the grand scheme of things: the turtles.

Mr. Brannan, vice principal at DCHS, was the one who first brought turtles to Delphi. “They were turtles you’d find out in the wild. So I got them when they were babies, and brought them in.” Over time, the turtles grew, and became a significant part of the Delphi pond, even at one time numbering 15 in total. The turtles intermixed with koi in the pond, and special lamps were put in to satisfy their temperature needs.

Mr. Brannan was not only the lead DCHS staff in charge of the turtles—he also helped Delphi acquire Sulcata tortoises. “[About thirteen years ago], someone came to the school wondering if we would be willing to take some tortoises,” Mr. Brannan remembers. “They had some baby Sulcata tortoises that they simply didn’t want any more and thought that the school could use them for some sort of educational purpose.”

As the tortoises grew to be members of the DCHS family, their notoriety grew among both staff and students, even branching out to other schools. “My English classroom used to be where the athletic office is now, so I witnessed daily how often students stopped to watch the tortoises and talk to them. And any time there was an afternoon or evening activity, people, especially children, wandered over to check out the turtles and the fish. The pond itself, and definitely when we had the turtles, certainly made Delphi unique,” said Mrs. Tonsoni.

After a couple of years though, the caretaking of the tortoises got to be too much. “We would have someone taking them up to a janitor’s closet and washing them in the basin,” remembers Mr. Brannan. “Picking up their feces wasn’t that fun either.” And so, it was with a heavy heart that DCHS put an ad in the paper. Soon later, the tortoises were taken to their new home, and Delphi seemed to be a little more empty, a little less unique. The turtles too were taken out of their newfound location and placed back in their natural habitat. “I took them down to Frankfort,” Mr. Brannan said, “and set them free in a bog there.”

The tortoises and the turtles are now a part of Delphi’s unique history. DCHS is extremely rare in its overall layout with the departmental pods, open library, and fish pond. The next time you’re walking by it, take some time to appreciate it, and watch the koi swim.