Glendale High School unveiled its first official mascot Wednesday afternoon.
"It's show our pride and school spirit," said Grade 11 student Abi Robillard, Minister of Fundraising on the student council, who with last year's Prime Minister, Alison Buchanan, came up with the idea almost one year ago. "We wanted something to represent us."
School spirit needed a shot in the arm, said Grade 11 student Evan Buchanan, Student Council, Minister of Assemblies.
"We thought this would be a jump start," said Buchanan (Alison's younger brother), noting the mascot will be used at school events - like Wednesday's Opening House Assembly, the annual stair climb for United Way (Nov. 3), and sports like football, basketball, volleyball and more.
"Anything like this that we want to get everyone hyped up and into the Glendale spirit," said Robillard.
"We started emailing companies, getting quotes, and figuring everything out and over the past year we did all our fundraising. We did popcorn sales at dances, we sold hot chocolate at the Thursday Night Lights (football game), we sold carnations on Valentine's Day."
Payments were made in June 2016 and the mascot costume was picked up in August. Auditions were held in September, leading up to Wednesday's big 'reveal.'
Who was in the griffin costume?
"We can't tell you, it's a secret," Robillard laughed.
The mascot - a griffin wearing a Gemini jersey - made its first appearance at the Oct. 12th House Assembly, an afternoon rally to generate school spirit. Students separate into four 'houses' - wearing black, gold, green and white to match the Gemini colours. They mingle, dance, play games, cheer, and laugh.
"House Council does a lot of fun stuff like this assembly and Summer Slam - that's an end-of-year event with water games, stuff like that," said Buchanan.
Everyone in the school is encouraged to participate, but not everyone does, Robillard noted.
"Skipping is an issue - sometimes it's the older kids that skip, but sometimes it's the younger kids that skip."
"But I think this year was a better turnout," said Buchanan.
"A better turnout than has been in the past," Robillard agreed. "High school is what you make of it. So the people who are skipping, that's the reason their high school experience isn't as fun as the people that do go and play all the games everyone's getting involved with."
"The dunk contest was new this year," noted Buchanan, "and a lot of people came out for that because our senior boys are really, really talented."
Points are tabulated, but it's mainly about bragging rights and they start fresh at the next assembly.
"Usually Black House wins," said Robillard.
"Yeah, usually Black House wins," nodded Buchanan, also wearing a black Gemini shirt.
"Yes, we're both in Black House," Robillard smiled.
It's not just students. Teachers also dress up in the four house colours and join the games.
"I think it helps students participate when you see teachers going out there and doing stuff too," said Buchanan.
"They are good encouragers," said Robillard. "Mr. Gooding, especially. He really gets everyone wanting to do everything to their fullest energy. He's a crazy guy, he's always got great outfits on."
House Assemblies have been a Glendale tradition going back at least 35 years, said Scott Gooding from the guidance department, who has been involved for the past 31 years.
"I think it was Dace Zvanitajs who was doing it," said Gooding. "And it was Bill Macovik who really got it going. I came in as a staff advisor 31 years ago.
"Today was really good. Sometimes we have a good number out, but a lot stay in the seats. We didn't have that today - the kids who were here today participated."
"It's the one thing that doesn't change over the years," commented Glendale teacher Pam Grass. "They all want to dance and have fun."
"By the end they were jumping into it," said Gooding. "It's a spirit thing - usually we have it earlier in the year, but we have a lot of things going on. Usually we try to have it in the third week of September."
Gooding, wearing a White House shirt (White House collected the most points Wednesday), said teacher participation has been a tradition at Glendale since the early years.
"I think there's a culture of being involved and doing stuff - especially older teachers," said Gooding. "They're not afraid to do it, and I think it rubs off on the younger teachers to get involved and do stuff too. Actually, I thought the teachers were really quite well dressed today."