It’s the dawn of a new school in Clovis Unified and the district has completed most of the groundwork.
The land is under construction; the school boundaries are set; and the school will be named for former superintendent Janet Young, a very fine choice.
But, the hardest decision with repercussions that could last for decades is yet to come — what school mascot should be.
Names Should be Unique
Unfortunately, for our local school districts, originality and inspiration aren’t prerequisites. Instead, it seems as if the Clovis and Fresno districts choose simplicity and duplication over creativity.
For example, the most recent Clovis Unified school to open, Boris Elementary, borrowed from the NFL team down south and went with the Chargers. The school chose a bull as its logo instead of lightning bolts. A charging bull, get it? Ho hum.
In Fresno, how is Vang Pao Elementary called anything but the Generals? Nope, they are the Tigers. Just like seven other elementary schools in the Fresno, Clovis, and Central districts.
Tigers are the most popuar nickname for Fresno-area public elementary schools.
That’s why Janet Young Elementary needs something different, something unique.
Why does this matter to me? First, I love team nicknames, from the pros down to the elementary school. Second, this school is going up near Locan and Shields avenues, close to where I live. My children, in theory, would attend Janet Young.
So, I need to make sure this school mascot gets named right.
Janet Young Elementary
Here are my 10 suggestions for something unique and fun. Some simple rules: Names need to end with an ‘s’ — no collective nouns, no ending in ‘z.’ The name has to apply to both boys and girls.
Mench is a Yiddish word for someone who does good deeds. That sounds like something I want my kid to become. As far as a logo? How about a kid with a halo?
Who doesn’t want to be a Young Learner? Maybe not the most intimidating mascot, but isn’t it all about education anyway?
In the same vein, don’t we all think our kids are Young Geniuses? Besides, using the term “Young Einsteins” might lead to a copyright infringement lawsuit.
Kings Canyon National Park lies due east of Young Elementary, and 20% of the mammals in the park are bats. Maybe the school teams would need to play night games.
While there are schools called Sequoia, it is not used as a team name as far as I know. And, what is one of the most popular attractions at said Kings Canyon National Park? The Giant Sequoias. Plus the word includes all five vowels.
Bighorns (as in the sheep) are making a comeback in the Sierra Nevada. They can be found in Kings Canyon and Sequoia national parks, east of the school. No need to name the team the Rams (already used by Riverview Elementary in Clovis).
On a clear day, the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra Nevada are a sight to behold. It could inspire a creative logo as well.
Many neighborhoods near the school site sprung up over the last 15 years on land that was formerly almond orchards and orange groves. Why not honor the agriculture history by naming the team the Harvesters?
There is only one school in the area called the Stallions — Saroyan Elementary in the Central district. That should be a crime. A man as creative as Saroyan, and you call the team the Stallions? How about the Fightin’ Arams? Nevertheless, Young Stallions rolls off the tongue well.
Maybe the boldest and most daring choice. The Janet Planets. Perhaps a little corny, but the logo would be cool. And educational.
Principal Wants to Hear From You
Appointed principal Kacey Gibson is polling future Young Elementary students and parents on a mascot for when the school opens in the fall of 2020. She will host two public meetings — Thursday (March 7) at Freedom Elementary and March 11 at Boris Elementary. Both start at 6 p.m.
Come and share your thoughts. Or, just tell them you like my ideas.