By Sam Jack
Haysville West Middle School’s mascot is the gorilla, and the school definitely has gorilla pride.
The school’s parent-teacher organization purchased a large gorilla statue, dubbed Gregory the Gorilla, that stands in front of the school. A few weeks ago, the PTO added a second, smaller gorilla statue just outside the school’s stadium.
The idea is that as teams enter the stadium complex to compete, they will tap “Baby G” on the head. The new tradition was inspired by similar rituals at colleges such as the University of Tennesee and the University of Oklahoma.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Sept. 27 print edition of the Haysville Sun-Times. To see stories like this sooner, and to get all your community news, subscribe to the Sun-Times. Call 316-540-0500 to get next week’s paper delivered to your home.
HWMS principal Ildo Martins picked up the gorilla statue in his truck, and maintenance employees got it anchored in concrete.
“Then I spoke with our football team and all of our fall sports teams, just letting them know that tapping the gorilla before going into the stadium represents our ‘PRIDE’ matrix – preparation, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence. It stands for who we really want to strive to be,” Martins said. “It was well-received by the kids.”
The new statue also serves as a finishing touch for bond-funded improvements to athletic facilities at the school. The school’s football and soccer practice field has an underground drip irrigation system, and the stadium complex has a new track. HWMS also added a second gymnasium to the main building.
“Our kids deserve to have the best we can give them. Baby G was kind of a capstone, just connecting school and district pride to what we’re doing every day,” Martins said.