What’s in a Name? DMPS Namesakes and Mascots

mascotsWhen news came that President Obama would be visiting North High School we started researching for presidential precedents. There was an unconfirmed report that Teddy Roosevelt visited with some Greenwood students when he came to town in 1910 to speak about education, but by that time TR was a former President. We were reminded of President Clinton’s stop at Hiatt Middle School in 1999. But that was in the summertime, not on a school day.

All of the presidential goings-on led to tallying how many district schools are named in honor of past presidents. There are eight: Jackson, Jefferson, McKinley and Monroe elementary schools; Harding Middle School; and Hoover, Lincoln and Roosevelt high schools. Madison, you ask? No, apparently it was named after a nearby street which may or may not have been an homage to James Madison.

But back to the three presidential high schools. Calling Lincoln students Railsplitters makes sense. Same with Roosevelt Roughriders. But how come Hoover’s the home of the Huskies?

We couldn’t stop pulling on the What’s in a Name thread.

Scavo High School students recently voted to collectively call themselves the Phoenix, a perfect mascot in the spirit of the school’s mission. North Polar Bears – that’s no riddle. East Scarlets? Apparently when they got their football team going early in the 20th century they realized they needed some team colors and copied the scarlet and black of Grinnell College.

The elementary schools are a hodgepodge, mascot-wise.

We don’t lack for Wildcats (Edmunds, Garton, Willard and Windsor, plus Weeks Middle School) or Tigers (Capitol View, Moulton, Phillips and Walnut Street) or Eagles (River Woods, McKinley and Stowe, plus McCombs Middle School where they’re Golden).

Other schools have chosen less generic nicknames for themselves. The Perkins Penguins, Hillis Hounds and King Koalas are unique and have nice rings about them. So do the Jefferson Jets who take off and land everyday practically in the shadow of the airport. Conveniently, Jets also works out as an acronym for the school: Jefferson Elementary Traditional School.

It doesn’t alliterate, but Lovejoy Cruisers does carry an element of cool. Same with the Jackson Stars. Then there’s Howe. How to classify Howe? In lieu of mascot or nickname Howe has a motto: Go Nice. So be it; who can argue with that? Go Cruisers! Go Stars! Go Nice! Howe is the home of The Nice. How nice is that?

Cougars are on the loose at Carver Elementary and Callanan Middle School but they’ve been tamed at Cowles. Since becoming the only public Montessori school in Iowa, Cowles has de-emphasized the Cougar in favor of a new logo that invokes the school’s emphasis on globalism.

Morris is an interesting case. The Bison owe their name to the first regiment that was dedicated to the training of black officers to serve in the United States Army during World War I; the 17th Provisional Training Regiment.  It was located at Fort Des Moines. Graduates, including James B. Morris, went on to distinguish themselves during service in France. After training at Ft. Des Moines, Lieutenant Morris was assigned to the 92nd Infantry Division. The patch worn by the 92nd was the profile of the American bison, or buffalo. The symbol represents a long and proud heritage of the “buffalo soldier” in the United States military.

More whimsical and cartoonish, like childhood, are mascots such as the cheerful Greenwood Woodchuck.

Besides all the aforementioned Eagles, there are other birds of prey nesting in DMPS. Hawks at Hanawalt, Hubbell and Hoyt Middle School; Falcons at the Downtown School.

There are no plain old bears to go with all of the Lions (Studebaker,Madison and Goodrell “Pride”) and Tigers. Oh my! But plenty that are, like Yogi, smarter than your average ones; Pandas at Oak Park and Polar ones at Wright and Findley like those at North High. Findley actually thinks of themselves as the Polar Bear Cubs since they feed into North. That’s a theme in evidence elsewhere, too. South Union goes by Little Rails, Samuelson is the Husky Pups and Monroe is the Little Huskies. Meredith Middle School, joined literally with Hoover, is home to the Huskies too.

Plenty of Panthers at Park Avenue and Pleasant Hill, many a Mustang at Cattell, Moore and Merrill, a covey of Cardinals at Brody and let’s see… what’s left? Just the Timberwolves at Harding, the Hurricanes at Hiatt, Ruby Van Meter’s Vikings, Smouse’s Knights and last on this list (but first in the alphabet), the biggest little school in town, the Brubaker Elementary Bulldogs.

That’s quite a menagerie we’ve got here, a rather diverse one, you could say.  You could also say “GO NICE”!

Published on