Hoo’s This Owl?

Anna Stiffler (they/them), Staff Writer

Ida B. Wells High School has gotten its first official mascot under the school’s new name. Some might call it cute, others peculiar, with its wings, brown fur, and yellow eyes. Despite all the attention it’s gotten, it still remains nameless. 


The owl made its first online debut on September 9, posted by @principle_h_ibw_hs. A month later, the name has yet to be announced, and the school is giving the community opportunities for input.


Name nominations opened on Monday, Sept. 26, and stayed open until Sept. 30. Many names were received by the form. Some took what might be seen as a more traditional route with “owl terminology” such as hoo and hoot. 


Abby Griffin, the leadership teacher at Ida B. Wells, thinks we can do better, saying that we should stay away from names with hoot in them. She prefers names that start with G, such as Gus or Gary. Beginning the owl’s name with a G also helps in connecting the mascot back to the Guardians. 


The majority of the name suggestions were gendered except for a select few. “We did get a really good suggestion for Lee as a non-binary name choice,” said Griffin. “And Lee is the middle name of Ida B Wells’s husband, so I actually think that this is an awesome choice.” 


Griffin isn’t alone in this thought process. Amarilas Garcia-McMillian, a freshman at Ida B. Wells, said that if they got to choose the name, they would choose Lee.


Others think the name should have a theme. “Probably something with an alliteration,” said Emmett Keling, a freshman at IBW. “I think that makes it sound nice and coherent.” 


But what is the school looking for? 


“I’m looking for something quippy, short and easy to remember that is simultaneously somewhat related to our school, but also unique,” said Griffin. “I am seeing a few favorites on my list of submissions so far. So I have some things in mind for what I’d like.” 


Griffin felt that involving the community was important because it helps create a relationship with the school and its identity. Students agree, finding it to be a fun activity where their voices can be heard. 


The top 5 names were narrowed down to Barnett (Barney) the Owl, Gary the Guardian, Ollie the Owl, Otis the Owl, and Ozzie the Owl. They put those names into another form which was open for voting from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7, with the final name being announced at homecoming on Thursday, Oct. 13.


“With the obvious exception of sports that take place on the mountain, [like snowboarding] I would like our owl to just be making surprise appearances,” Griffin said. 


Hopefully, the owl will be seen at games, other than just football and basketball. Keling, who has friends on the soccer team, is hoping the owl will show its face at some of their games. 


 “I think it’s really cool to have a mascot, because so many schools have one, and it’s what represents our school,” said Garcia-McMillian.


Putting the unknown name aside, the school mascot is sure to be a great addition to Ida B. Wells. Besides being a representation of our school, the IBW owl is sure to unite people, hatching school spirit one flap at a time.