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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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College colors, mascots the model for many area high schools

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my! It’s interesting to see how the high school mascots of the various schools came to be over the years.

It seems many schools -- Mead, West Valley, North Central, Deer Park, Riverside and Cheney among them -- have had the same school colors and mascots going back to their very beginnings.  Gonzaga Prep obviously borrowed from Gonzaga University with their Navy Blue & White Bullpups.

Lewis and Clark can trace the origins of their Orange and Black Tigers back to their first principal, Henry Hart, who borrowed the colors and mascot from his alma mater, Princeton.

Central Valley was originally the “Polar Bears”. The story goes that a black bear cub was given to the school by a hunter, and the “Polar” disappeared.  The school’s blue evolved from a darker hue to the present lighter color.

Hillyard High was the predecessor to Rogers, and they took to the field of play reflecting the railroad influence in the community. The Engineers and Railroaders were a couple of early nicknames, until the school settled on the Panthers. When Rogers opened in 1932, the Blue and White Panthers became the Purple and Gold Pirates.

For many years, smaller communities in Spokane County had their own high schools. The Fairfield Beavers, Rockford Indians, Lindbergh (Valleyford) Pilots, Latah Bobcats and Spangle Huskies now just fight their battles in the memories of our older citizens. The Freeman Scotties and Liberty Lancers now have the allegiance of those towns.

East Valley took on the Green and White Knights when the new school opened in the early 1960’s. Prior to that, the community followed the Otis Orchards Mustangs.

With the newer schools, such as Ferris, Shadle Park and Mt. Spokane, mascots and school colors were usually chosen by a vote of the student body and/or administration.  One of the finalists for mascot at Ferris was “Alpiners”, but the student body wisely chose Saxons instead.

I remember, as a senior at Central Valley, when many of the then sophomores, who were to become the first class at the new University High, were working on choosing their mascot and colors. We helped them with suggestions of “Pink and Black” and “Cubs”. They ignored our good advice, and used the University of Southern California as a template for what became the Crimson and Gold Titans.

Whatever the mascots or color combinations are, it makes for a much more lively and colorful scene when the teams and student bodies get together to compete and cheer at the games.

Bill Pierce
Bill Pierce is a sports blogger who writes the weekly nwprepsnow prep sports almanac.

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