By Joanne Lee ’15
“It’s a beautiful day to be a Hornet, but it’s even a greater day to be yourself,” says Mayor Almas Shafiq ’14 on the morning announcement.
Before this nest of ours became home to the Hornets, Midwood lacked a common identity. According to an article on Midwood’s mascot for the Alumni Association written by Ms. Wendy Guida, English teacher, we were previously known as the “Midwoodsman” in 1951 but barely any teams used it. For almost the next decade, various teams had their own mascot. If you were in the bowling team, then you would be a “Pinman;” the swimming team called themselves as “Aquamen” or “Merman,” the “Glenroaders” for football, “Netmen” for basketball, “Cindermen” for track, “Wallmen” for handball, and so on. All teams were “men” because there were no girls’ teams until 1971.
In December of 1963, Argus held a contest to choose a nickname for Midwood’s teams after seeing other schools having them. It was narrowed down to five. They were the Blue Jays, Glenmen, Jay Walkers, Woodchucks and Woodlanders. Out of suggestion by Elihu Savad ’64, “Blue Jays” was announced as the winner. However, “with no explanation in Argus, in the October 23, 1964 issue, the football team is referred for the first time as “The Blue Hornets.” Today, “all Midwood boy’s teams are known as ‘Hornets’ and the girls’ teams are known as ‘Lady Hornets.'” While it is still as mystery to how the mascot jumped from the “Blue Jays” to the “Hornets,” another question is: why the Hornet? Several students and teachers had their own speculations.
“As for why the hornet was chosen, I assume it is because a hornet stings its opponent,” said Ms. Guida. “It can do harm. Mascots are often fierce. What team would be scared if it was playing against the ‘Midwood Bunny Rabbits?”
Amir Ismail ’15, member of the football team, said, “I think it is a good choice although some people might disagree because hornets are insects and people crush insects but hornets are deadly insects and they will attack you. If you saw a hornet in front of your face, you wouldn’t squash it; you would run away.”
Luis Carrasco ’14, member of the wrestling team, agrees that the Hornets is a good choice but prefers Tigers.
Some students from other high schools agree that the Hornets are aggressive and symbolic but remain loyal to their school’s mascot.
“I understand why you guys are called Hornets. You have a massive student body, diverse in skills, and not so powerful until these skills work together,” said Chun Lin Liu ’15, student of The Bronx High School of Science. “A pack of wolves still shreds through insects. Again, I don’t recall losing to the Hornets.”
Ivan Tam ’15, member of Brooklyn Tech’s football team, said, “I obviously like Tech’s mascot more although Engineers just sounds so passive. Other schools have an animal and we get ‘Engineers.’ I mean at least Hornets are somewhat aggressive animals.”
No matter how our mascot is interpreted, it played an important role in shaping Midwood’s history.
“I’m not crazy about the mascot, but there is a certain sense of tradition it invokes and changing it would take that away,” said Emily Henning ’15. “I think the mascot itself should stay the same. Maybe the aesthetic of it should be changed to make it more appealing.”