Bruin mascot sweeps across the nation

Madi Mertz

Art by Sarah Poor
While the cheerleaders may claim that “Rock Bridge rocks wherever they go,” how does RBHS stack up to various other schools? Hickman High School is the only school in the nation with the mascot of the Kewpie, but it is well known that RBHS is not the only school in the nation with the mascot of the Bruin.
RBHS may be a unique school in its policy of “freedom with responsibility,” but it may not be alone in much else. The similarities and differences between different schools with the Bruin mascot are stunning and surprising. Much like a family, they all may appear the same, but they are vastly different on the inside, depending on something as simple as where they reside.
There are 20 public schools across the United States which identify themselves as the Bruins besides RBHS. The main question of the matter is, then, just how much does the mascot have to do with the similarities between schools? Just as bears come in all shapes and sizes, including black, brown, grizzly, and Berenstain, so do the nation’s bruins. Sizes range from small town schools with only a few hundred students to schools in metropolitan areas, with enrollment numbers in the thousands.
Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Va. is the largest of all, boasting an impressive 3,955 students, according to U.S. News. That being said, it is a magnet school which caters to students in grades 7-12, unlike most of the schools which house high school students in grades 9-12 or 10-12.The largest Bruin school in the 9-12 or 10-12 category is Cherry Creek High School in Denver, Colo., which holds around 3,443 students in grades 9-12, according to U.S. News.
Four of the schools have fewer than 1,000 students; Brookings-Harbor in Brookings, Ore., Tri-West Hendricks in Lizton, Ind., Beddingfield in Wilson, N.C. and Bear River in Grass Valley, Calif. All of these have small attendance rates. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to merit, however. Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah, the 15th most populous Bruin school out of the 20, is the fifth in their state, and holds a national rank of 1240.
Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky., the 11th most populous, happens to be ranked the highest in their state out of the Bruins. At number three, they are the second runner-up for best school in their state, on top of an impressive number 487 national ranking. So Bruins have a tendency to succeed, whether they’re large or small in size. But bears do tend to be boisterous.While still being a highly ranked, magnet school, Lake Braddock has a strange tradition of a cheer.
“It’s called the ‘Bruin Rumble’, so at our football games, they take all the trash cans and tip them over and they pound on them. They have their own now, actually, so it’s not the actual physical ones that have trash in them,” Lake Braddock yearbook advisor Kathryn Helmke said. “They have them painted and the seniors usually paint themselves and the bleachers are painted and the seniors usually sit in front and they’ll usually start the Bruin Rumble, and then the whole students section will respond.”
Many of the schools have traditions like this. In fact, similar to BruCrew, Bear River has BruiNation, as does Northrop High School in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The BruiNation may hold black bears and brown bears, but Bruins come in far more colors.
Out of the 20 public schools which calls themselves the Bruins, nine have school colors of blue and gold. There are two who are brown and orange, and Fargo South High School in Fargo, N.D. is brown and gold.
The program that RBHS recently adopted to help first generation college students, AVID, is used by no less than four different Bruins.
There are Bruins with as much as a 96 percent minority in the student body, such as Trevor G. Browne in Phoenix, Ariz., or 94 percent, like Bloomington High School in Bloomington, Calif.
So, as similar as Bruins may seem, each and every one is different. For instance, most all of the schools have a sports department of some kind, but only two have a show choir.
Long story short, Bruins come in all different shapes and sizes. They hibernate at different times, they are all different colors, they’re interested in different areas of study. Ballard has received a national award for their math and science Advanced Placement courses, while Bloomington has award winning ROTC and performing arts departments.
By comparison, RBHS, ranked 8th in the state and 957 in the nation, is the only green and gold Bruin, and has just about 2,000 students. Whether or not that makes RBHS worthy of rocking wherever they go, is up to the attitude of the students.
After all, students chose the mascot 40 years ago, and it continues to inspire school spirit. Little known fact, RBHS’ mascot was almost the trolls. Former RBHS English teacher, Marilyn Toalson was a part of the first graduating class, and took part in the decision of the school mascot.
“The students’ first choice was Trolls. Remember we were students at Hickman so we were proud of being Hickman Kewpies, it was very emotional to change schools, after all the Kewpies were the only naked baby mascot anywhere,” said Toalson. “However, teachers vetoed that. So after several votes and suggestions, we kind of went with bears, the cave, etc. We thought Bruin was more sophisticated and not used so much, so we voted for Bruins.”
It’s obvious that other schools have liked the idea of the Bruins as well. Plenty of other sophisticated and unique schools had the same thought that Toalson’s class did. The students define a school, and it’s impossible to witness the way in which the students define a school without being on the inside.
All Bruins have a different attitude about their school, but David Bones, RBHS Assistant Principal for activities knows his students love their school.
“I’d always say we’re an outstanding school with great kids,” Bones said, “and the fact that it does whatever they can to support kids success.”
At RBHS, the students know that they’re supported as fellow Bruins, no matter how they stack up to others.
In the end, it’s impossible to determine the best Bruin. Different schools across the nation connected only by their identity as bears, and all 21 have aspects which make them worthwhile.
By Madi Mertz
What do you think of our mascot? Would you rather our mascot be the Rock Bridge ______?