Today, I happily give the “stage” to Tom Rice who offers some thoughts on how the Graland mascot, the Eagles, replaced the Owls, the mascot I cherish.
“Apropos of the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory last Sunday, I thought it might be enlightening to show a parallel between a previous Eagles’ Super Bowl appearance in 1980 and the changing of Graland’s sports' nickname from the Owls to the Eagles that same year. It appears that by the late 70’s, our students were beginning to believe that our nickname, the Owls, was a bit too 'intellectual' for the burgeoning sports power they perceived Graland to be.
“Names were bandied about, but the one that began to emerge most prominently was the Eagles. And one big reason for that was that one of our PE teachers and coaches, Tom Stahl, was from Philadelphia and dearly loved his Philadelphia Eagles who were going to the Super Bowl for the first time. He readily enlisted the aid of fellow PE teacher and legendary football coach, Dave Pettit, and together these two charismatic, athletic, and popular coaches lobbied hard for their chosen bird in PE classes and on the athletic fields. Well, their campaign was a huge success; in 1980 we became the Eagles.
“Now, there is one caveat here; my memory has been called into question many times over the years (most prominently by Mr. Hickey) because, I admit, I like to remember what I like to remember. But I must say that I personally heard from the proverbial horses’ mouths their entreaties and lobbying efforts on the part of Tom’s beloved Eagles. On the other hand, if anyone else has any other remembrances of Eagles past, your input is welcomed.
“So, here’s to the current Super Bowl champs (they did lose to the Raiders in 1980) and their legacy to Graland; here’s to the Eagles and Tom Stahl (who was to die tragically some years ago) and his sidekick, Dave Pettit!”
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.