Amsterdam High School will have a new fan cheering on the Rugged Rams when they take the field this fall – a purple and gold horned creature ready to lead the charge.
Thanks to some $2,000 in donations from AHS faculty, staff, families, alumni and the community at large, the district has purchased a human-sized Rams mascot uniform delivered this summer and ready for action when fall sports begin.
The mascot idea came last spring from Greater Amsterdam student athletes.
“At our athlete leadership conference day in May we sought input from the students on what they thought would best promote school spirit,” said teacher/coach Stuart Palczak. “Resoundingly their answer was a Ram mascot. So, at our coaches meeting that afternoon we decided to go for it.”
Teachers/coaches Kevin Wilary and Tim Jones began searching for a mascot uniform. Then, Wilary set up an online fundraising account through DonorsChoose and the money was raised in just over a week.
“There were 32 donors in all who contributed anywhere from $5 to several hundred dollars to the cause,” Wilary said. “The money came rolling in from both our community and AHS graduates from all over the country.”
Mascots play an integral role in creating school’s spirit and are a common label for all students, alumni, and faculty. A mascot creates a sense of belonging, helps unites everyone under one name, and connects students to each other and to the school. Teachers change, students change, but the high school mascot remains constant and will always be remembered.
So, what is the new AHS Ram mascot’s name? That is to be determined, said AHS Principal AnneMarie Giles.
“We are considering having a naming contest and school-wide vote this fall, with the official mascot name being revealed at the Homecoming pep rally or bonfire,” she said.