An argument to keep Green Dragons

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

To the Editor:

The Westmer-Aledo school district amalgamation surely makes a great deal of sense, especially from the standpoint of current and future students. And those who have done the heavy lifting necessary to reach this stage of consolidation should be applauded. However, one disquieting note has been sounded.

There are those who believe - apparently for reasons based on emotion and little else - that the school's mascot, The Green Dragon, and presumably its green and white colors as well, must be relegated to the trash heap in favor of who knows what. This would be a serious and quite expensive mistake for many reasons.

The Green Dragon is unique among Illinois school mascots, and some spot checking suggests it may be unique in the United States as well. A few schools recently have adopted "Dragon" e.g. Pekin, but none have chosen Green Dragon. Uniqueness is increasingly rare and should be cherished and maintained whenever it is found.

A Green Dragon is unisex, non political, has no religious connotations and does not offend the sensibilities of any minority. Thus, although I deplore the self serving exploitation of that concept, a Green Dragon could not be more politically correct, even by today's uncertain and shifting standards.

A Green Dragon, and any dragon for that matter, personifies an aggressive combative spirit coupled with unquestioned courage. No one associates a dragon with failure or surrender or defeat in the face of adversity. Thus, it is a perfect mascot for the teams of an expanding and successful athletic program that is Aledo-Westmer's future.

The Aledo-Westmer Green Dragon has a long and rich history of athletic accomplishment including that of this year's football team. During its nearly 70 years, the Green Dragon has become associated with quality achievement, quality conduct, quality coaching and quality community support. Such a sterling reputation was hard earned over many decades. It would take years to replicate that reputation for any new mascot.

Westmer students are already playing as Green Dragons. They are doing quite well and playing with pride. Perhaps their elders can learn from this ready acceptance of a tradition rich mascot.

Obviously there are costs - tens of thousands of dollars - associated with a mascot name change and changes in school colors. Today, with school budgets - and other budgets as well - under severe stress, how can one justify both to themselves and to the Mercer County taxpayers the substantial expense of totally unnecessary - and senseless changes?

It has been said that at least some of the school board members have committed to others that the Aledo-Westmer mascot would not be a Green Dragon. While public commitments should not be lightly withdrawn, surely most thinking people want their public servants to be sufficiently flexible and open minded to make sensible adjustments to prior commitments when logic and economies point clearly in a different direction.

I therefore implore the Board of Education not to abolish the The Green Dragon as the symbol of Aledo-Westmer athletic prowess and tradition in favor of some inferior mascot which few would associate with Aledo-Westmer and which probably is already in use elsewhere. The Green Dragon is one of the very best mascots a school could have, and it should remain so for Aledo-Westmer.

I encourage those who agree with this viewpoint to contact the members of the Board of Education and express their opinions.

William C. Ives

Chapel Hill, NC

ACHS 1951