Nevis School retaining the Tiger as mascot
The Tiger will reign supreme; the Muskie has been delivered to the depths.
After hearing an impassioned discourse from former coach and athletic director Craig Stanwick, the Nevis School Board unanimously decided to retain the Tiger as the school's mascot.
"We play like tigers," Stanwick told the board Monday night, "not like fish."
Discussion on the matter of whether the school should revert to its original Tiger Muskie mascot has been ongoing for several months, with alumni informally surveyed at this summer's school centennial.
While students remain fairly neutral on the subject, alumni are polarized on the matter, "opposition 10 to one," board chair Ed Becker estimated.
"I've only talked to one person who's in favor" of the change, Sherm Anderson said. "I'd like to see discussion like this on other subjects."
"I'd like to see this interest in the referendum," Jeannette Dudley agreed.
Former Akeley Angler Marv Vredenburg made the motion to continue as Tigers, the board concurring the name change could cause controversy on the eve of the referendum.
Stanwick recited his "Top Ten Reasons" the school mascot should remain Tigers before the board and a gathering of community members. He indicated he's received numerous calls and letters from alumni since he expressed opposition in letters to the editor in area newspapers.
The school district is supported by open enrollment, he pointed out. "Advocates for changing our mascot argue the number one reason for the change is to support our community and its claim to fame as the "home of the world's largest Tiger Muskie."
But Nevis is a two-section school, he pointed out, welcoming students from Park Rapids, Walker, Laporte, Akeley, Huntersville and Menahga.
"I suggest the school needs to retain its own identity," Stanwick said.
Students develop a loyalty to the school, he pointed out, but move on and are not part of the local community. "It's the school that links them to the town. They want to be remembered as Nevis Tigers."
Students do not see themselves as part of a community, as yet, Stanwick observed. "Young people are focused on winning football and volleyball games or participating in speech and drama. A sense of belonging helps build self esteem and prepare students for the real world."
A mascot represents the student body. "It is a symbol with which they can identify. It is the tie that binds generations of Nevis High School students."
He cited alums' take on the issue, including Candy Minion Rice, who noted that, "A fish, while equally wonderful in the natural world, does not conjure the same mental image in the minds of players, alums or opponents."
The name has a history, a tradition, Stanwick pointed out. "And financially, it doesn't make sense."
"Change is good if it serves a purpose and represents the majority of the population," he said.
This didn't meet the mark, he indicated. The school board agreed.