Ruff decisions

What if the mascot had a name?

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Ruff decisions

The Bulldog stands with pride at a Homecoming game.

The Bulldog stands with pride at a Homecoming game.

Quincey Epley

The Bulldog stands with pride at a Homecoming game.

Quincey Epley

Quincey Epley

The Bulldog stands with pride at a Homecoming game.

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Herbie the Husker. Chester the Cheetah. Even Toucan Sam from the Froot Loops box. These popular mascots exist to promote businesses. Each mascot is a way to symbolize individual companies to frame them in a more relatable, down to earth and friendly way with their consumers. Mascots are designed to captivate mass audiences, which just confirms our society’s desire for resonating impression and inclusion that brands consistently push.

The case is similar with our mascot. Representing school pride and spirit, the North Platte Bulldog stands tall at everything from pep rallies to football games. How will the Bulldog excite the crowd next? This anticipation and enthusiasm that mascots exuberate is primarily what makes them so popular. The Bulldog, seemingly unavoidable as you wander the halls of NPHS, is printed on our t-shirts, lanyards, and water bottles. And although it is the most symbolic figure of our school, our legendary mascot still remains unnamed.

Naming the primary school symbol should be a combined school effort, something that doesn’t just represent certain designated groups within the school (eg. the pep band, student council or certain sports teams.) It should be something that can be both engaging and humorous. Something to be made light of after a rough game or a mishap during a band performance or speech meet, but it should also be something we’re proud of. A student and staff chosen identity, per say.

We, North Platte High School students, staff, and sports teams are all considered Bulldogs. This raises an important question: If the Bulldog were to be further characterized, would all of us acquire that specific name, as we all are the “Bulldogs” of North Platte. Would we be labeled, for example, the Chris’s or the Elga’s of North Platte High School? No. That would take away the authentic meaning of the Bulldogs. Therefore, in order to bestow the designated canine a name, it would have to be specifically for the mascot.

We decided to speak to the mascot herself, senior Jaylee Shaner, who originally chose to become the mascot as a way to increase school spirit and to further her family legacy of Bulldog pride. Shaner believes the reason the character is unidentified because “it’s hard to find that right [name] because it has to stick forever.” Shaner believes that the name should reflect a symbol of our school pride, stating, “I think it would have to be pretty iconic.”

Another important factor to consider is that most colleges have designated names for their mascots. Examples of this include the Florida State Seminoles’ mascot, Osceola, and the robust Big Al of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Ultimately, regardless if our Bulldog receives a name or not, it will continue to embody school spirit among the supporters of our school, forever known as the most comprehensive figure of North Platte High.

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