Debate over which Marshall symbol better serves as the school spirit representative, the Statesman or the Griffin, has surged in advance of the upcoming graduation of the class of 2018.
Before the 1980’s, Marshall did not have a mascot, but the school employed the Statesman nickname at musical and sporting events in order to represent the school’s teams. In the mid 80’s, Marshall administration began to incorporate the lion as a mascot at football games and other events. This change was mainly because the lion was on the family crest of General George C. Marshall.
Over the last 30 years, the school made the shift to establishing the Griffin as a universally accepted mascot while taking into account that the nickname remained the Statesman. In fact, it makes sense to have a mascot that is identifiable and a nickname that honors the school name.
The Griffin mascot increases spirit, boosts enthusiasm at all Marshall sports events, and serves as a small part of the Marshall family crest. Without the Griffin, Marshall would not have a mascot to represent the school at games. The Griffin mascot is the best way of representing school spirit, especially at football games. Marshall needs a strong way to show team spirit, and the Griffin serves this exact purpose.
At the same time, the Statesman represents patriotism and respect for those that fought for our freedom and right to exercise these values. Especially given the namesake of the school, it would be difficult to rationalize eliminating the Statesman as the school nickname.
The Statesman better illustrates the Marshall spirit and reflects the values that George C. Marshall represented as Secretary of State. Since Marshall associates with the Griffin mascot, changing it officially would rebrand the school after years of asssociation with the Marshall-esque values and name.
Taking into account that Marshall associates with the Statesman moniker, the Griffin mascot sometimes causes unnecessary confusion. However, it is still a near-necessity to have some sort of spirit representative at events like games and pep rallies.
Given that General George C. Marshall is the face of patriotism as former Secretary of State, this school strives to embody the principles of Marshall’s work as a representative of the United States. It serves as a symbol of American values, but also embodies the same ideologies as high schools around the country. Although this representation of Marshall is confusing, these two symbols strengthen our sense of school spirit. The dual mascot-nickname system is too ubiquitous to Marshall’s identity to abandon at this point. We should remain with our current system, and take pride in our school’s traditional and earnest values.