Mascots matter. They convey ideas, hope, and identity. They act as a vessel for history. Memories of rivalries, failures, and triumphs can all be compressed into a single logo or costumed character. People take great pride in the teams and schools they support. The mascot is the image those people rally behind. So deciding on a mascot is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
This is the position Elkhorn Public Schools found itself in mid 2018. With the population of the school district continuing to grow, a substantial bond issue worth nearly $150 million was passed. Nearly half of that amount would go to a brand new high school, Elkhorn North High. As the new building broke ground that same summer, the district wasted no time breaking ground on its newest school’s identity.
A committee of principals, teachers, coaches, and students was assembled to guide the decision on the new school’s mascot. This group worked with the community to identify and refine a list of potential names. Through word of mouth and even a Facebook post asking for ideas, the team assembled nearly 130 suggestions. Some reflected local history and geography, such as the Bisons, the Pioneers, or the Rivercats. Some were ridiculous; the Goblins or the Potholes likely drew a laugh from the assembled committee.
Despite the wide range of options, the team narrowed the list down to three potential candidates: The Wolves, the Nighthawks, and the Eagles. All three were seriously considered, even though the Eagles was already taken in the greater Omaha area by Omaha Central. After much deliberation the committee finally picked the option they felt would represent the new school the best. The Wolves.
Dan Radicia, principal at Elkhorn High and key member of the committee, mentioned that he was excited to see what the students would do with it. He imagined their student section at sporting events calling themselves the Wolfpack. One can already hear the chorus of wolf howls echoing through high school gyms and into the fall nights overlooking Friday night football games.
The Wolves join Elkhorn High’s Antlers and Elkhorn South’s Storm to round out the list of high schools in the area. The Wolves are still young, but it’s exciting to think of the moments, stories, and memories that future Elkhorn generations will impart upon this mascot.