Call It Courage! – The Great Mascot Naming Fiasco!

Teaching Year Number 9

The Wildwood Wolves!

Our school mascot was (is) a wolf.  We had a little stuffed wolf, whose name was Little Wolf, and the children loved him.  Little Wolf went on field trips and visited classrooms.  He was rewarded to classes randomly through the year, and the students would take good care of him for a few weeks.  Getting Little Wolf given to you at an assembly was an exciting occassion, and there were always huge smiles on the faces of the students who would get to care for Little Wolf.

One Stuffed Wolf is Great! Two is practically a whole pack!

And all was fine with the world.  Until the second little stuffed wolf came.

Really, it was a generous idea.  Another school had closed, and the children coming to our school as new students had brought their own stuffed wolf with them, something that marked where they came from and the school community that had been their home before they came to us.

As a staff and a school having two wolves meant double the fun. Twice as many wolves meant you could have one of the wolves for twice as long!  Still, there was a little problem.  The new wolf did not have a name.  It was decided that there would be a school contest, a naming assembly!

Each class put forward their ideas.  My class came up with the name Courage.  Our school was a Circle of Courage school and it was a brilliant name.  Thoughtful, meaningful and full of opportunity. I was proud of my students for coming up with such a powerful name.  When the final three names were listed, I was confident that Courage was the winning name.  “Lucky” and “Growler” just didn’t seem to have the same class as a name like Courage.

My class started taking photographs of the two wolves, so that I could make an origin story for the new Wolf.  It was a brilliant piece of writing.  It was about how Little Wolf had been left outside in our environmental classroom, and he was really scared and lonely.  When the moon came out, he heard a howling noise and then he was so happy because he had found a nice new girl wolf and they could become best friends.    A 32 page picture book, with photos and text, all about Little Wolf and Courage frolicking around the environmental classroom, learning about the forest, and about Mastery, Generosity, Independence and of course, Belonging, the four main ideas in the Circle of Courage.

The book was filled with all sorts of interesting sentences with double meanings.  Little Wolf literally found Courage, the new wolf, of course, but cleverly throughout the story, Little Wolf also became courageous.  The final pièce de résistance, in my mind, was the title.  “Little Wolf Gets Courage”.

I was perhaps overconfident in the result of the vote.

At the end of the naming assembly, the Grade Ones, with their cute little smiles, swayed the votes.  Courage came in second, and our new stuffed Wolf was named “Lucky” because we are very lucky to have all of these new friends in our school.   Ok, I admit that it is a nice message.  Still, I preferred Courage.

Depressed, I went and used find and replace to change all of the “Courage” names to “Lucky”.  Upon reading the book I knew that nobody would ever get to share the new story out loud.  A story about a boy wolf, waiting in the environmental classroom to meet a girl wolf and feeling all scared and nervous and lonely was a great idea.  But when the book is entitled “Little Wolf Gets Lucky”, well, let’s just say that it wasn’t likely to get past the Admin team.  Even with a changed title, the book was filled with too much new double entendre, passages like:

“I am scared that the students won’t like me,” Lucky said softly.

Little Wolf thought carefully about the problem.  He knew that his new friend would be cared for.  After all, they loved when at assemblies they got Little Wolf for their classroom.  It would be the same for Lucky! Why he could imagine the joy on the faces of the Kindergarten class when they knew that they were going to get Lucky in their classroom. They would love getting Lucky!

“Don’t you worry,” giggled Little Wolf, “The kids here are so caring when new students come to our school.  You will be loved and cared for and snuggled by every class that you go to.  Getting Lucky will become a big deal and I promise, every class will cheer and clap every time you visit them. I promise!”

And he was right.  The students waited and hoped for their classroom number to be pulled.  Every student clasped their hands and hoped for the chance to get Lucky.



2 Responses to “Call It Courage! – The Great Mascot Naming Fiasco!”

  1. Ha ha ha, can I get Lucky in the Fall?? It’s been awhile!! 😉

  2. HAA HAA HAA….

    You can get “lucky” from my class… it’s there… it’s been there all year long and no one knows about it… almost got thrown out in the trash at the end of the year!! haa haa haaa

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