Current Allen County-Scottsville High School students along with visitors to the school will now be able to learn the story behind the Patriot mascot and nickname. Friday night, the school received the Patriot Plaque---a 24-inch by 30-inch artwork that not only explains the story behind the selection of “Patriots” but also recalls the historical significance and the students involved in that decision 75 years ago.
In 1941, students from the
rural community schools of Meador, Mt. Victory, and Petroleum were brought
together to form Allen County High School.
“The new school started in September and they did not have anything for school colors or a mascot,” noted Allen County-Scottsville High School educator and Allen County Historical Society member Kelly Burch.
Everything would change on December 7, 1941. In early afternoon Scottsville time, just after 7 a.m. in Hawaii, the US Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japanese military forces. The event would mark the United States’ entry into World War II.
The following day, December 8, 1941, classes were held at Allen County High School. Principal Tom Simmons brought the school’s students together for an assembly---an assembly that included scripture reading, prayers, and very honest remarks from Simmons, a veteran of World War I.
“Many of you have family and friends who will not survive the coming conflict,” Simmons was quoted as saying by local resident Roger Towe. “Some of you young men may not survive this.”
Burch points out that Simmons' remarks are believed to have taken place at the same time as President Franklin Roosevelt was delivering the "Day of Infamy" to Congress in Washington.
The school's small student body faced the reality of the situation that day. The start of WWII meant that some of the school's oldest students would deploy within months for service. Other students would see siblings and friends depart in the coming months and years. Sadly, a few students in attendance that day, would serve and give their lives for their country.
According to Burch, the school's 32 seniors decided that the school's colors should be red, white, and blue to honor the Nation. In addition, the school’s students---students representing the classes of 1942 through 1945---soon agreed that the school's mascot should be Patriots in tribute to the “Patriots” that were now fighting for the cause of freedom.
Over a half century later, Towe learned of the story from the pastor at his church. Shortly thereafter, Towe began an effort---in cooperation with the Allen County Historical Society---to purchase a plaque to be placed at the high school. The purpose of the plaque is two-fold---to pay tribute to the students of long ago for their love for country as well as tell the story of the origin of the “Patriot” mascot.
After several years of fundraising, the
plaque was unveiled Friday night.
“We have had so many people step up and give,” Towe noted. “Farmers National Bank also helped us with a donation that allowed us to finish the project. Tonight, we remember why we are Patriots.”
The plaque presentation ceremony included
several Allen Countians who were students at the school in the 1940s making the
plaque presentation to AC-SH principal Joseph Cosby. The plaque will soon be
placed near the entrance to Patriot Gym in the rear lobby of the high school.